Just one Australian restaurant has so far made the world's top 100

Chef Peter Gilmore. Source: Quay

A week out from the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 awards in Melbourne next Wednesday, just one Australian restaurant has scraped into the 51-100 list, released overnight.

Sydney’s Quay, a top 50 restaurant for five years, appears at number 95, three places up on 2016. It’s the ninth time chef Peter Gilmore’s harbourside fine diner, named the nation’s best several times in local food guides, has featured in the top 100.

But the lack of any other Australian restaurants may be good news for Victorian regional destination diner Brae, at 65 for a second time last year, up 22 places, which now looks set to crack the top 50. Brae’s chef-owner, Dan Hunter, was previously head chef at top 5 Spanish restaurant Mugaritz and opened his first restaurant, two hours from Melbourne, in late 2013.

The only other Australian restaurant likely to feature in the top 50, Ben Shewry’s Attica in Melbourne, listed at 33 in 2016.

The nation’s poor showing in the culinary equivalent of the Oscars suggests that Tourism Australia’s multi-million dollar “invite the world to dinner” campaign in 2014 and subsequent global marketing of “Restaurant Australia” have failed to impress the 900-plus chefs and industry “influencers” who make up the 50 Best voters, despite bringing former No. 1 Noma to Australia in 2016, as well as paying to host the awards in Victoria next week.

The 50 Best organisers say votes cast were up 52% this year, improving the diversity of the list.

Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said Quay had been central to the Restaurant Australia campaign and its success in making the list embodied the message TA wanted to send to international tourists.

“Quay, under the stewardship of chef Peter Gilmore, truly reflects the culinary excellence that can be achieved through the combination of Australia’s incredible people, abundant fresh produce and spectacular natural environment,” he said.

Quay chef Peter Gilmore said he’s “absolutely thrilled” to make the cut once again, having peaked at no. 27 in 2010.

“It’s just such a huge privilege to be listed amongst such icons of the industry. We’re also incredibly grateful to the Quay team who work so hard every day…they are the reason we’ve made it onto the list again,” he said.

America dominates this year’s the 51-100 list with nine places among restaurants from 24 countries. Spain and France were next best with four each, including Barcelona’s Disfrutar, making its debut at no. 55 and receiving the “one to watch” award. It’s run by three chefs from former no. 1 elBulli.

There are 11 new restaurants featured, including from Mexico (Sud 777, #75), Russia (Selfie, #88), South Korea (Mingles, #89), Slovenia (Hisa Franko, #69), and two from Japan and Brazil. Denmark remains a culinary hot spot with a new addition, Kadeau in Copenhagen, making its debut at 94.

Former 50 best favourite, Faviken in northern Sweden, has dropped to 57.

Expat Australian chef David Pyny of “modern Australian barbeque” restaurant Burnt Ends, in Singapore, sits just outside the top 50 at 53.

Another expat, David Thompson, who over the last 18 months has opened Long Chim Thai restaurants in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, is expected to feature in the top 50 with Nahm in Bangkok, along with former Newcastle chef Brett Graham’s London restaurant, The Ledbury.

The full 51-100 list is here.

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