Internationally recognised restaurant guide, Gault&Millau has announced the Sydney and Melbourne finalists for its inaugural awards program.

Finalists will be officially announced at Gault&Millau Australia’s Mise en Place trade events in Sydney on 25 August (The Pavilion) and in Melbourne on 1 September (Siglo, The European). This will be followed by an announcement of the winners in each category for both Sydney and Melbourne at the launch of the Gault&Millau 2016 Melbourne & Sydney Restaurant Guide which will be held on 9 November 2015.

“We wish to acknowledge and celebrate the amazing talent we have in the Australian hospitality industry,” said Gault&Millau Australia’s chief judge, Mark Dorrell. “Our awards recognise those outstanding men and women in the kitchen and on the floor who give Australia its international reputation as a culinary destination.”

The awards span across six categories:

American Express 2015 Potentialist of the Year Award Finalists

The American Express Potentialist of the year not only shows incredible skill and dedication to their career development, but also demonstrates leadership, creativity and innovation within the kitchen and/or the hospitality industry more generally. This award provides a ‘next step’ for the winners, who will travel to France to attend the Gault&Millau International Chefs Summit in Monaco, travel throughout France meeting and experiencing some of the country’s premier wine producers and providores, and ‘stage’ in two Paris restaurants.

Sydney finalists:

  • Lauren Eldridge – Marque Restaurant, Surry Hills
  • Katey Shaw – Rydges Campbelltown  
  • Kyle Vaughan – Rockpool Est. 1989, Sydney
  • Jarrod Walsh – 117 Dining, Sydney
  • Adam Wolfers – Yellow, Potts Point

Melbourne finalists:

  • Hugh Allen – Vue de monde, Melbourne
  • Natacha De Barba – ezard @ Levantine Hill, Coldstream (VIC)
  • Jarrod Di Blasi – ezard, Melbourne
  • Jake Kellie – Estelle Bistro, Northcote
  • Bill Vukinamualevu – Attica, Ripponlea

Pork Star 2015 Professional of the Year Finalists

This award recognises exceptional restaurant floor staff, including wait-staff and other front-of-house staff who show incredible dedication and passion, not only to the restaurant in which they serve but also to their customers, always seeking to ensure that restaurant guests receive both high-quality service and the best-possible dining experience.

 Sydney Finalists:

  • Miki Bisceglia – Firedoor, Surry Hills
  • Vanessa Duckworth – Four in Hand Dining Room, Paddington  
  • Amanda McDivitt – ONESIXEIGHT, Balmain                                     
  • Abby Meinke – Moon Park, Redfern                                                      
  • Tim Watkins – Monopole, Potts Point              

Melbourne finalists:

  • Joe Durrant – Grossi Florentino, Melbourne
  • Laurence Ip – Cosi Bar Ristorante, South Yarra 
  • Lauren Mather – Habitat, Fitzroy
  • Tessa Murray – Supernormal, Melbourne
  • Sally Robinson – Coda, Melbourne        

Riedel 2015 Sommelier of the Year Finalists

This award acknowledges sommeliers whose experience, knowledge and dedication to the wine list and master cellar is reflected not only in the choice provided to diners, but in how these choices are presented and described. The Sommelier of the Year shows incredible enthusiasm and passion for wine, as well as an extraordinary level of care and thought about the wines they offer and how these wines enhance the flavours of the food.

Sydney finalists:

  • Simon Curkovic – Marque Restaurant, Surry Hills
  • Paul Huet– est., Sydney 
  • Dan Sharp – sixpenny, Stanmore   
  • Rodney Setter – Sepia, Sydney 
  • Amanda Yallop – Quay, The Rocks

Melbourne finalists:

  • Leanne Altmann – Supernormal, Melbourne
  • Gareth Bernett – Woodland House, Prahran
  • Banjo Harris-Plane – Attica, Ripponlea
  • Sally Humble – Lm, South Melbourne
  • Matthew Lamb – Vue de monde, Melbourne

Perrier-Jout 2015 New Restaurant of the Year Finalists

This award is given to restaurants that have been open for less than 12 months or that have been redeveloped and reborn under new management, and which show extraordinary potential as well as innovation, character, all while serving delicious food. The New Restaurant of the Year offers not only a great dining experience, but also adds something new and exciting their state’s restaurant scene. 

Sydney finalists:

  • Bennelong, Sydney                                                                                
  • Clareville Kiosk, Clareville Beach                                                           
  • Firedoor, Surry Hills                                                                            
  • Raita Noda Chef’s Kitchen, Surry Hills                                                   
  • Vine Double Bay, Double Bay      

Melbourne finalists:

  • Babu Ji, St Kilda
  • Botherambo, Richmond 
  • L’Htel Gitan, Prahran
  • Lm, South Melbourne
  • The Roving Marrow, Carlton              

V-ZUG 2015 Chef of the Year Finalists

The Chef of the Year award recognises not only the top chefs in Sydney and Melbourne, but also chefs who are pushing the limits within the kitchen and using innovation and imagination to create dishes that wow their diners. The Chef of the Year demonstrates outstanding technique, creativity on the plate and of course passion and dedication to both the industry and their calling as a chef, with this same passion reflected in every dish they serve.

Sydney finalists:

  • Grant King – Gastro Park, Potts Point                                   
  • Ross Lusted – The Bridge Room, Sydney                             
  • Josh Nyland – Caf Nice, Circular Quay                
  • James Parry – sixpenny, Stanmore                                                                          
  • Daniel Puskas – sixpenny, Stanmore                             

Melbourne finalists:                                              

  • Teage Ezard – ezard, Melbourne                           
  • Andrew McConnell – CUMULUS INC./CUMULUS UP., 
  • Melbourne, and Culter & Co., Fitzroy
  • Ben Shewry – Attica, Ripponlea
  • Dave Verheul – The Town Mouse      

Lavazza 2015 Restaurant of the Year Finalists

The Restaurant of the Year Award is given to the top-scoring restaurants in both Sydney and Melbourne. Scores are based on the Gault&Millau international system for evaluating the technique and creativity of the chef, the atmosphere and ambiance of the restaurant (including service) and the quality of the food overall. 

Sydney finalists:

  • est., Sydney                                                                                           
  • Guillaume, Paddington                                                                          
  • Rockpool Est. 1989, Sydney                                                                  
  • Sepia, Sydney                                                                                    
  • Tetsuya’s, Sydney   

Melbourne finalists:

  • Attica, Ripponlea
  • ezard, Melbourne
  • Grossi Florentino, Melbourne
  • Vue de monde, Melbourne
  • Woodland House, Prahran                  


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