NSW Good Food Guide Awards 2024 LIVE updates: Follow all the action, winners and hats at the hospitality industry’s night of nights

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Keep up to date with who’s winning what

And now it’s time for a note from our host, Adam Liaw

We grabbed tonight’s MC, Adam Liaw, for a quick chat before the ceremony commences. Here’s what he had to say:

This is not the first time you’ve hosted the Good Food Guide awards, you did it last year. Tell us why you’ve come back (why you want to be involved).

Restaurants know how important this is to them, and I’m lucky enough to get to be the one to read out their name on stage in a moment that for a lot of the awardees is one they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

People put their heart and soul into restaurants, and receiving a hat (or two or three) is recognition of something that starts as an idea, and which becomes reality through a lot of blood, sweat, tears and a mountain of stress and worry. I consider it to be a real privilege to be able to be a part of a moment that recognises that for so many people.

Adam Liaw hosting last year’s Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Awards at Shell House.Credit:

The Good Food Guide is considered Australia’s most respected food and beverage title, and its coveted hats – from one to the pinnacle of three hats – are recognised as the industry gold standard. What do the awards mean to the industry?

It really is hospitality’s night of nights. These awards are the ones all the hospitality people talk about, and the hats are what they all want to win. I spend most of my time filming with chefs from all around Australia and the hats come up in conversation daily. Everyone in the room wants to know who’s getting a hat, or who might be moving up (or down), and outside the room the rest of the industry follows the event live on socials. Restaurateurs know that the Good Food Guide is the one publication people will pick up whenever they’re deciding where to go out for dinner. It’s that important.

Tell us about the vibe of the event

It’s a celebration of everything that makes hospitality great. For an industry where so many people are working while the rest of the world is having fun, it’s a rare chance to get glammed up and share a night with colleagues you’ve been in the trenches with, but might not have seen for a long time. There are plenty of nerves for the chefs before the hats are awarded, but after the pressure is released people really let their hair down.

What are you looking forward to most on the night?

Drinks and snacks.

Anything else you’d like to say?

The Good Food Guide really does have the pulse of Australian dining. It’s not just fancy food at special occasion restaurants. There’s a real diversity of awardees. This year one of my longtime favourite places (I won’t mention which one) is getting a hat for the first time. They’ve been around for more than a decade, and it’s been the kind of place you could walk into on a Friday night and snag a table for a great, affordable meal with friends. It’s great to see them succeed (but it might be a little harder to get a table there now)!

Your frequently asked questions, answered

Each venue that’s visited is given a score out of 20:

  • 10 are awarded for food
  • 5 for hospitality
  • 3 for the setting and experience
  • 2 for value

Here’s how the scoring is broken down

  • 14.5 Good
  • 15 Very good
  • 16 Seriously good
  • 17 Great
  • 18 Excellent
  • 19 Outstanding
  • 20 As good as it gets

If a place gets 15 it scores one hat, 16 and 17 equals two hats, and 18 above is a three-hat restaurant

Keep up to date with who’s winning what

A note from the editor (and what’s different in this year’s Guide)

This edition of The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide includes a few exciting updates, with no change to the rigour of how we review (see previous post). Critics’ Picks are a new addition, designed to recognise restaurants that don’t quite reach the score for a hat, but our reviewers are big fans of regardless. Give me a great sandwich over a middling $180 tasting menu any day.

Icons and Institutions is a new section that celebrates venues delivering memorable or singular dining experiences more than two decades after they opened, and we’ve welcomed more schnitzels and schooners into the fold with a dedicated Pubs section. Also, the Cafe of the Year award is back!

Which is why the Guide is more useful than ever. We’ve ditched awarding two points (out of 20) for “X-factor” and now consider value instead. I’m more than happy to pay $59 for line-caught coral trout at Neil Perry’s Margaret; less thrilled about the thought of forking over $50 for farmed barramundi fried into oblivion at a swanky new wine bar. If we’re going to dine out and pay these prices, the restaurant better be good.

But it’s getting harder to sort the great from the bad. Restaurateurs and hospitality groups increasingly know the right graphic designers, architects and PR firms to engage, but the talent in the kitchen isn’t up to scratch. I’ve travelled thousands of kilometres to find new restaurants to include in the Guide this year, often lured by a snazzy Instagram account and on-trend menu. “Hey, look – there’s a place in Armidale serving caviar on a hash brown!”

But the hash brown is soggy. The caviar is avruga. The substance doesn’t live up the style.

Hence, the Good Food Guide review team has done the hard yards and dry toasts for you. Every venue listed is somewhere we’ve visited and experienced a delicious night out, terrific lunch, or just a bloody great sandwich —Callan Boys, Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2024

Welcome to the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Awards

Good evening! My name’s Annabel Smith and I’m on deck to help guide you through tonight’s Good Food Guide Awards ceremony, presented by Vittoria Coffee and Oceania Cruises.

    What history will be made? Who will be crowned Chef of the Year? Who will gain a hat? Will anyone lose a hat? Follow along to find out.

    In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know about the Guide.

    What’s the SMH Good Food Guide?

    The Good Food Guide comes out annually and is a compilation of almost 500 independent reviews of restaurants, bars and cafes in NSW and the ACT, visited by our team of critics in the past six months. (They visit plenty of other venues that didn’t make the cut, too.)

    Home to the renowned chef’s hats, Good Food has been recognising the country’s leading restaurants for more than 40 years by awarding venues its coveted hats – from one to the pinnacle of three hats (more on that later…).

    This year’s Guide spans everything from long-adored institutions, CBD bistros, cafes, pubs, suburban gems, no-frills pizza shops, regional destinations, hole-in-the-wall noodle shops and more, and it covers a broad range of budgets.

    It’s being launched tonight, alongside 14 awards, including the big ones: Oceania Cruises Chef of the Year, Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year and Aurum Poultry Co New Restaurant of the Year.

    You can get your hands on the 148-page Good Food Guide 2024 magazine from tomorrow (Tuesday, October 24), when it goes on sale for $14.95.

    What happens at the Good Food Guide awards ceremony?

    The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2024 Awards are being held at the Art Gallery of NSW’s North Building (otherwise known as Sydney Modern), where 300 chefs, restaurateurs and industry legends from the NSW and ACT dining and drink scenes will gather as the gongs, along with the hats, are handed out.

    Guests will snack on a menu by MOD Dining chef Clayton Wells, and sip on cocktails and wines from the likes of Vittoria Coffee (hello espresso negroni!), Archie Rose, Penfolds and Clover Hill.

    The ceremony kicks off at 7pm, hosted by cookbook author, TV host and of course, beloved Good Food recipe columnist, Adam Liaw.

    I’ll be with you the whole way, sipping my bone-dry martini and providing hot takes and updates on all the winners, along with any goss as the night unfolds.

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