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Aløft

There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet. 

Secret Tuscany

A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.

A festival of cheese hits Sydney

Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.

Farro recipes

Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.

Brae

Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.

Grilled apricot salad with jamon and Manchego

Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.

Moon Park to open Paper Bird in Potts Point

No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.

Discovering Macedonia

Like its oft-disputed name, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia defies simple definition but its rich diversity extends from the dinner table to the welcoming locals, writes Richard Cooke.

S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015

Peter Gunn

Peter Gunn

A mighty fine plate of beef short ribs with roast celery vinaigrette has secured Attica's Peter Gunn a trip to Italy to compete with the world's top up-and-coming kitchen talent. Gunn impressed some of Australia's most celebrated chefs to win the local heat of the inaugural S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 in Melbourne on Monday night.

The talented sous-chef flies to Milan in June to represent the Australia-Pacific region with esteemed Melbourne chef Jacques Reymond by his side as a mentor.

Reymond was on the judging panel with Peter Gilmore (Quay), Guy Grossi (Grossi Florentino), Peter Doyle (Est) and Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater). The judges scored each finalist in five categories: ingredients, skill, originality, presentation and overall message.

It was Gunn's Cape Grim beef short rib that stood out for each of the judges. The New Zealander has a solid pedigree, having worked under Teage Ezard at Ezard and Dan Hunter at Dunkeld's Royal Mail Hotel before joining Ben Shewry at Attica four years ago.

Another Melbourne chef finished a close second. The European's Kay-Lene Tan presented a panna cotta described by Reymond as among the best he had ever tasted.

Third place was taken by Chris Chilvers, the sous-chef at South Australia's Elbow Room, for his wood-roasted South Australian cockles with glazed eel, native succulents and lamb consommé.

More than 3000 young chefs from around the globe entered the competition by sending recipes and photos of their personal signature dishes. To qualify for the competition they needed to be under 30 and have been working as a chef, sous-chef or chef de partie for at least a year.

The other Australian-Pacific finalists were Hajime Horiguchi (chef, Sushi Minamishima, Victoria), Jordan Gerhardy (chef, Noosa Beach House, Queensland), Punit Fernandes (chef de partie, Mesh, Victoria), Richard Crawford (chef, Salt House, Queensland), Thomas Hishon (chef, Orphans Kitchen, New Zealand), William Moridido (chef de partie, Chiko Restaurant & Cafe, New Zealand) and Xin Jing (chef de partie, Cocoro Japanese Restaurant, New Zealand).

Stay tuned for more news on Gunn's progress when we pick up the story in June.

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