If you were to visit almost any part of Australia these days, from the palm tree-lined streets of Port Douglas to the rolling green hills outside Hobart, you will find some of Australia’s most original chefs hard at work founding a nascent regional dining culture.
“Places such as Adelaide and Hobart are so hot right now,” says Myffy Rigby, editor of the 2019 Good Food Guide, published by Fairfax Media. “Regional Victoria is going crazy, as is the area around Brunswick Heads in NSW.”
While a handful of regional restaurants have long pedigrees – Alla Wolf-Tasker, for example, opened her acclaimed Lake House in Victoria’s Daylesford 30 years ago – there has been a remarkable restaurant boom beyond Sydney and Melbourne in recent times, linked to the growth of what’s been dubbed destination dining.
“People think nothing of getting on a plane these days to all corners of the country in order eat at a three-hat restaurant,” says Rigby. “That was part of our reason for taking the Good Food Guide national two years ago. It was recognising the fact that people are travelling to eat.”
Regional chefs such as Matt Stone, of Oakridge Wines restaurant in Victoria’s Yarra Valley are passionate about showcasing the produce from their backyard and are careful not to strive to be all things to all diners.
“We don’t serve seafood because we are nowhere near the ocean, but we do have wonderful trout that is raised locally,” he says.
The reliance on local flavours is seeing each region start to develop a distinctive culinary style, defined by ingredients as diverse as abalone in Tasmania and reef fish in Queensland.
To celebrate the spread of a more distinctive style of Australian dining, and to mark the publication of the latest Good Food Guide, Traveller invites you to take a tour of some Australia’s hottest dining destinations, led by the true experts: the chefs themselves.
From Adelaide to Byron Bay and beyond, we have asked some of Australia’s best chefs why their slice of Australia is worth the journey and what their cuisine says about the state of dining in their respective state. But be warned: their responses are likely to set your taste buds tingling….