GT tableware

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and you’ll go into the draw to WIN a Scenic 15 day Jewels of Europe river cruise for two people.

Gourmet on your iPad

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad.

The most spectacular waterways in the world

Whether snaking through clutches of pretty small towns, winding the entire length of countries or docking on the shores of the world’s biggest cities, travelling over water is both relaxing and thrilling.

The hot 100 moments in design

From distinguished architectural icons and game-changing gadgets we can’t live without to fashion classics that have become ubiquitous staples and timeless furniture classics – it’s by no means comprehensive, but we’ve narrowed down thousands of contenders and rounded up the most inspiring, visionary and intriguing moments in modern design history.

Chocolate tart recipes

Some include a layer of gooey caramel, some incorporate poached quince or pears, but all these tarts have one thing in common - plenty of chocolate.

What we’re cooking for our mums this Mother’s Day

The Gourmet Traveller editorial team reveals which recipes they’ll cook for Mum this Mother’s Day.

Chicken sandwiches

Whether it’s sesame-crumbed katsu in a brioche bun or a classic hotel-style club, we've found recipes that'll turn the classic sandwich filler into something rather special for lunch.

Anzac biscuits

A classic recipe everyone should have in their repertoire.

Hot 100: the best in food

From chicken sambos to goat's milk, our team of intrepid taste testers and critics brings you the year's hottest (and most delicious) food trends from around the globe.

Igni, Melbourne Review

Aaron Turner has made a triumphant return to the restaurant world and his cooking, at Igni in Geelong, is better than ever.

Australian Gourmet Traveller 2009 Restaurant Guide Awards

Find out who won the Australian Gourmet Traveller 2010 Restaurant Awards and come back soon for our online version of the Restaurant Guide

It's an exciting time to be a restaurant-lover in Australia. This year's Australian Restaurant Guide, which we have produced in association with Electrolux, is as clear a snapshot of what's moving and shaking as you're likely to find. Working with a team of editors and reviewers in every state, we put together the only national restaurant guide in the country - the nation's most read restaurant guide, for that matter and flipping through the pages of the book, it's hard not to notice just how hard our best chefs and restaurateurs work to stay the best. They're a credit to the nation, and a blessing for anyone who takes pleasure in eating out. 

The two big trends of haute-barnyard and weird-science keep on keeping on. Adherents of the former spend as much time lovingly listing the provenance of their produce and its environmental and ethical purity in near-tedious detail on the menu as they do plating the damn things. They churn their own butter, cure their own meats, are offended by the thought of imported water and obsess over the freshness of their (free-range) eggs. Their heroes are people such as Fergus Henderson at St John in London, Alice Waters at San Francisco's Chez Panisse, Dan Barber at Blue Hill in New York; they're reading Michael Pollan, and dream of visiting Etxebarri in the Basque country.

Beyond the basics of grass-fed versus grain-fed beef and cage-eggs versus free-range, chefs and diners both are looking hard at questions of industrial animal farming, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability - particularly with regard to what ends up on the plate and in our mouths. With the dollar value of food shooting through the roof around the world, too, much focus is being brought to bear on how much what we eat costs, directly and indirectly. Expect free-range pork and wild fisheries to be among the hottest flashpoints in the coming years.

The work of The New Foodists (a disparate group, united only by their rejection of the term 'molecular gastronomy') involves liberating equipment from laboratories, lifting ingredients from food science, and freeing us diners from our preconceptions about which foods play well with others, and how and when they should be served. Their menus tend to be either littered with inverted commas, or written telegram-style ('mulloway, violet, scallops, chicory cake, malt'). Either way, you have no idea what you're about to eat, and it's only the order the dishes are presented in that gives any indication which dishes are sweet and which are savoury. These guys revere Ferran Adrià, Grant Achatz, Pierre Gagnaire and Wylie Dufresne. They're alternating between the latest editions from Hervé This and Harold McGee.

Both camps seem to agree that cooking things very slowly for a long time is a good thing, whether it's a whole oyster blade of beef in a 19th-century wood-fired bakery oven at Vulcans in the Blue Mountains or a piece of vacuum-bag sealed blue-eye trevalla suspended in a temperature-regulated water bath at Bentley in Surry Hills. The more controlled style of the latter is gaining acknowledgement as the biggest major change to professional cooking in a long time. American chef Thomas Keller, of The French Laundry  and Per Se fame, is so interested in sous-vide cooking that his latest book Under Pressure, due in Australia at the end of the year, takes the technique as its subject. Xanthan gum is everywhere, the MSG of our day, only without the headache scare, keeping purées from splitting and emulsifying sauces on the sly. Everyone's looking at the internet, too, whether it's at the latest hydrocolloid applications or how to pacify the rare-breed black pig living on kitchen scraps.

Some of the best restaurants, of course, have feet in both camps, looking at the work of their forebears and paying close heed to growers and the land, while using the latest tech and techniques to translate their best qualities to the table as cleanly as possible. The very best do it invisibly - and that's the future.

WORDS PAT NOURSE PHOTOGRAPHY JASON LOUCAS

This article appeared in the September 2008 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
A Korean pop-up at Bar Clarine
22.04.2016
Paul Wilson arrives at Prahran Market
21.04.2016
Back in time at Marios
21.04.2016
Morgan McGlone’s dining room opens at Harpoon Harry
20.04.2016
UberEats launches in Melbourne
19.04.2016
HospoHub launches
19.04.2016
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Twenty
things to do this autumn

Whether it's foraging for wild mushrooms in a picturesque Victorian forest or watching a film by moonlight in Darwin, we've got you covered with 20 exciting autumn experiences from around Australia.

Read More
Gourmet TV

Check out our YouTube channel for our latest cover recipes, chef cooking demos, interviews and more.

Watch Now

You might also like...

Ace Pizza

A green neon glow spreads its fingers into the darkness as ...

Akachochin

The new CBD-fringe suburb of South Wharf is still a mystery...

Albert Street Food & Wine

Philippa Sibley may have left the building, but Albert St F...

Alchemy

Expansive river views, experienced wait-staff and an accomp...

Ananas Bar & Brasserie

With a soundtrack laden with dance beats and a dark, moody ...

Appellation

To celebrate its sense of place, Appellation makes a grand ...

Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar

Andre's kitchen has progressed significantly since opening ...

Aria

Grilled heart of palm with white beetroot and quinoa. Scall...

Aria Brisbane

Matt Moran's northern outpost sticks closely to the templat...

Attica

Attica now has the profile of a first-grade fine-diner (and...

Aubergine

The grey-whiskered Ben Willis could pass for a maturing, bu...

Auge

After more than a decade as a serious fine diner focused on...

Azuma

Azuma makes a hushed refuge within a shopping plaza, and wi...

Annie Smithers' Bistrot

Annie Smithers may have decamped for Du Fermier, but the bi...

Aquitaine Brasserie

The name is a nod to France's south-west gastronomic heartl...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×