Food: Melbourne is food city

Food: Melbourne is food city

The Melbourne vs Sydney food debate is over. Last Wednesday night the debate ended in Melbourne’s favour at the Gourmet Traveller 2006 restaurant guide awards. Melbourne chef Shannon Bennett’s Vue de Monde was voted restaurant of the year.

Bennett, 29, is now officially Australia’s hottest chef. He’s the enfant terrible of the Melbourne restaurant scene, if only because of his passion for things French, including foie gras and fine wines. Melbourne-born Shannon Bennett spent quite a bit of time commuting between Melbourne and Dublin – thanks to his Irish mum. One of his uncles in Dublin was a chef and owned a few hotels and to a young Shannon seemed to lead a very glamorous life.While at Essendon Grammar, he took part in a new course offered by the school in Home Economics. His teacher noticed that he had an extraordinary gift for working with food and arranged an apprenticeship for Shannon, at age 15, with the Hyatt in Melbourne.

He completed his apprenticeship via the William Angliss School, winning two medals for cooking in that period. He worked for John Burton-Race. (John Burton-Race’s restaurant was the subject of Lenny Henry’s comedy series CHEF.) He then moved on to Marco Pierre White’s The Restaurant and eventually worked his way around London and Europe over a five year period. Shannon returned to Australia on a high from his success overseas.

He had always wanted to run a classic French restaurant. Bennett has gathered a team who work with him both front of house and back, and who all share his obsession.Bennett moved his restaurant from Carlton to Little Collins Street only four months ago and was also awarded three chefs hats in The Age Good Food Guide in August despite having only been open for one week as it went to press. Vue de Monde also won the top gong at the Restaurant and Catering Awards last week.

Restaurant of the Year: Vue de Monde (Melbourne): Chef – Shannon Bennett;

Best New Talent: Robin Wickens, Interlude (Melbourne);

Outstanding Contribution to the Industry: Serge Dansereau, The Bathers’ Pavilion (Sydney);

Best Maitre d’: Bryan Lloyd, Vue de Monde (Melbourne);

Best Sommelier: Georgia North, Becasse (Sydney);

Best Wine List: Asiana, (Melbourne);

Best Regional Restaurant: Berardo’s, Noosa; Best Bar: Melbourne Supper Club.

Australian Times

Australian Times

For, by and about Aussies in the UK.