If there is one word which really summed up 2021 for us, it was ‘Goodwill’…the COVID currency. As we endured another year like no other - few would have ever anticipated 12 months when such a volume of Australia’s restaurants would be forced to close their doors.
Fewer still would believe that the saving grace of so many of the country’s top Chefs would be the humble takeaway.
The devastation of the global pandemic and restrictions required to curb the spread of COVID-19 have left no restaurant unaffected, but the consequences have certainly been far more ruinous for some.
As we release our 2022 Chef Hat Awards, we respectfully recognise the field has not been level. This year’s awards are a credit to the phenomenal efforts of those who have managed to endure, but in no way take away from the incredible efforts and creativity of some of those forced into closure.
We concede too that lockdowns and border restrictions have obstructed our judges’ efforts this past year and acknowledge that we have not visited as many restaurants as we otherwise would have liked.
Some of these Chef Hat winners may also be temporarily closed at the moment, however we hope to see them back open again as soon as possible.
In our pursuit of the country’s best restaurants notwithstanding, the support by the Australian dining public has been nothing but extraordinary, with their generous willingness to support and help identify venues worthy of Chef Hat consideration.
We would like to thank you for your unbroken enthusiasm.
Some notable closures of 2021 (not all COVID-related):
•Allium Dining, Bendigo
•Winston Pop Up on the Sunshine Coast
•Petit Mort, Perth
•Chiswick at the Gallery, Sydney
Some notable openings of 2021:
•Van Bone Tasmania
•Tweed River House, Murwillumbah
•Woodcut Ross Lusted, Sydney
•The Paddock at Hazelwood Estate, Gold Coast
•ALBA by Kuruvita, Noosa Heads
Anticipated openings in 2022/Just opened:
•La Luna, Gold Coast
•Pellegrino 2000, Surry Hills
•Fish Butchery, Waterloo
Receiving a Hat for the first time at a high level in 2022:
•ALBA by Kuruvita (13)
•St Hugo Restaurant (14)
•Woodcut Ross Lusted (14)
•The Raglan (14)
•Van Bone (14)
•Osteria Il Coccia (15)
•Oncore by Clare Smyth (19)