Australia has made a solid showing in the latest World's 50 Best Restaurants list, which was announced overnight at a ceremony in London. Attica remains the only Australian eatery in the top 50, holding steady at 32, but this year Sepia and Brae joined the longer list, making their débuts at 84 and 87 respectively, and Sepia was singled out for the One to Watch award. Sydney fine-diner Quay, something of a 50 Best favourite over the years, clocked in at at 58.
Catalan restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, run by the Roca brothers Joan, Jordi and Josep in Spain's Girona, was named the world's best restaurant, followed by Osteria Francescana in Modena (second), Copenhagen's Noma (third), Lima's Central (fourth) and New York's Eleven Madison Park (fifth).
Attica chef and owner Ben Shewry says that beyond the attention and business the awards have brought to his Melbourne restaurant, he's grateful for the way the 50 Best has fostered a sense of global community in the trade.
"It's also brought a sense that the hospitality industry belongs with other professional industries and occupations of high standing in society," he added. "For many, many years it's felt like being in hospitality wasn't something you should be too proud to be a part of - like it was a second-rate occupation - and awards like 50 Best help promote and give a sense of dignity to what we do professionally."
Australian chefs with restaurants abroad also featured on the list. Tetsuya Wakuda's Singapore restaurant Waku Ghin, placed at 70, David Thompson's Nahm, in Bangkok, was 22, while Newcastle-born Brett Graham's London restaurant The Ledbury held its own at 20.
In other news, the awards, which have been based in London since their inception 10 years ago, will move to New York in 2016. "The World's 50 Best Restaurants is a truly global brand," said William Drew, group editor of the World's 50 Best Restaurants and Restaurant magazine. "We want to reflect this not just in the restaurants we celebrate but also in the locations of the events themselves."
Drew said that there was a definite possibility an Australian city could play host to the awards in the near future. "We'll certainly be looking at other suitable globally recognised gastronomic centres to host The World's 50 Best Restaurants. This might be anywhere from Tokyo to Paris, Sydney to Barcelona. The aim is that we relocate every two to three years, following a formal tender process."
For a full list of this year's winners, see the World's 50 Best Restaurants website.
Pat Nourse is the chair of the Australian voting panel of the World's 50 Best Restaurants.