By Leigh O’Connor.
As we celebrate the 2022 Chef Hat Awards and acknowledge those who have worked hard to not only survive but thrive during COVID times – we want to cast a spotlight on Chefs to keep on your radar.
Australia is blessed with such cultural and food diversity there is a restaurant to suit all tastes and cuisines and here are five of our favourites:
Imagine a small bar in Asia off the beaten track and immerse yourself in true and authentic flavours at Eddy + Wolff on Ron Penhaligon Way in Robina. Named after the two streets the Vietnamese owners Thao and Vien Nguyen grew up on, this cosy intimate space transports you to another time, where you feel a sense of belonging and a connection to where their love for food all started.
Vien Nguyen’s dish of grilled King prawns is a must-try at Eddy + Wolff.
Vien heads the kitchen while his wife Thao takes care of front of house – he describes his style as food he loves eating from the street market stalls of South-east Asia, full of flavour punch. A must-try is the signature dish of char-grilled King prawns, burnt garlic butter and shrimp paste, paired with a glass of specially curated wine or sake.
Inspired by Northern Italian roots, Oster on Bridge Road brings casual, regional osteria-style dining to Richmond. Unfussy local food and wine hosted in a warm neighbourhood eatery await, in rustic surrounds of softly glowing pendents, a marble bar and exposed brick walls; or take a seat at bifold windows opening streetside and people-watch in this trendy Melbourne suburb.
Oster Sous Chef Eliana Falco loves experimenting with new flavours and techniques.
Sous Chef Eliana Falco hails from Busto Arsizio in Italy and plates up elegant and simple dishes with a twist of the unusual. Obsessive-compulsive about the organisation of a working kitchen, she is currently experimenting with flavours such as liquorice, carrots and fennel; along with research into new products and techniques to bring to future recipes and dishes.
At age 15, Korean-born YK was watching super cool Chefs competing on a television show and that is how he started his cooking journey. Now Head Chef at Social Eating House in Broadbeach, YK has previously worked at some of Australia’s top restaurants, after his apprenticeship at the Intercontinental in Seoul, The Ritz Carlton Naples and in the US.
A television show sparked the Chef in Social Eating House’s Korean-born Head Chef YK.
He enjoys the hard work and fast pace of Social, where a chilled-out vibe exudes from exposed brick, contemporary furnishings, blue velvet lounges and low lighting at this intimately rustic venue. An award-winning menu dishes up choices like Wagyu tartare, roasted chilli, lardo, snow and cassava crisps; ideally washed down with a Smoke and Mirrors bourbon and cognac cocktail.
Senior Sous Chef at Appellation in the beautiful Barossa Valley, Zak Needham is excited by the fast-paced environment and drive for perfection that is being a Chef. He knew from a young age he wanted to be in the kitchen, having always enjoyed cooking for friends and family, along with helping his Grandma with catering events.
Appellation Senior Sous Chef Zak Needham has always enjoyed cooking for family and friends.
Committed to regional, seasonal and local produce, Appellation is considered one of Australia’s finest dining experiences, with an intimate ambience, understated elegance and sweeping views of the surrounding vineyards. Zak recommends trying the kohlrabi dish on the Mod Oz menu – shaved and pickled kohlrabi, sweet honeydew, lovage and hazelnut cream.
Head Chef Giuseppe Fuzio brings his native Italian heritage to the plate at Chiosco by Ormeggio at the Spit in Mosman. Having worked in Michelin star and other quality restaurants in Italy, the UK and Japan, he takes a modern approach to traditional Italian dishes and highlights less common regional recipes, especially from his hometown of Bari in Puglia.
Bringing native Italian heritage to the plate, Giuseppe Fuzio is on the pans at Chiosco by Ormeggio.
Visit Chiosco for marina views and Italian hospitality while delving into signature plates like vitello tonnato – slow-cooked veal, thinly sliced and smothered in a rich, thick tuna mayonnaise, topped with crunchy fried capers and parsley oil – before a divine dolci of lemon panna cotta, raspberry crumble and foam.