KYLIE JAVIER ASHTON, MOMOFUKU SEIOBO, SYDNEY
Manager. Wine enthusiast. Professional waiter. Amateur boxer. Kylie Javier Ashton brings a singular skill set to her work, which seems all the more apt considering the idiosyncrasy of the fine-diner she runs. It's a tribute to the experience she gained working at the high-flying likes of Tetsuya's and Bentley that through the transition from the Noma-inflected style of the restaurant under original chef Ben Greeno to the haute-Caribbean flavours of Paul Carmichael, a winning sense of continuity kept Momofuku on the up and up.
In short: Floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee.
GRETA WOHLSTADT, ORANA, ADELAIDE
It takes enthusiasm and deep knowledge to guide diners through 20-course dégustations when they don't know the names or flavours of most native ingredients being featured, but this challenge is met with rare zeal by Greta Wohlstadt at Orana. Having been part of Jock Zonfrillo's team since the restaurant began in 2013, Wohlstadt has the conviction and understanding of the kitchen's bold flavour marriages to draw the public into Orana's mission. She gets it, and even with the constant ebb and flow of a menu in tune with short growing seasons, the spark of her passion for this essential new cuisine is irresistible.
In short: The right stuff.
CHRISTOPHER YOUNG, CAFÉ DI STASIO, MELBOURNE
Seeing Christopher Young on the floor at Café Di Stasio for the first time is one of those "why did no one think of this before?" moments. One of Melbourne's best (and wittiest) front of house guys meets one of its most loved institutions and they fit like a glove.
In short: A great professional in his element.