Five Minutes with Gault&Millau: 2017 Dining Predictions and Top Venues for Summer

Gault&Millau Australia's Manager, Mark Dorrell, has been working with the Restaurant Guide since it launched in Australia at the end of 2013.  We stole five minutes of Mark's time recently to talk about the changing climate of Australian dining, and to ask the most important question of all: how on earth do you pronounce Gault&Millau?

 by Erin Ogilvie

Gault&Millau Australia's Manager, Mark Dorrell, has been working with the Restaurant Guide since it launched in Australia at the end of 2013.  We stole five minutes of Mark's time recently to talk about the changing climate of Australian dining, and to ask the most important question of all: how on earth do you pronounce Gault&Millau?

Mark laughs. "It's a lot easier than you think; you simply say GO-ME-YO.  Next year, the Guide will cover 13 countries so we decided to give it a nickname: The Yellow Guide.  Everyone can pronounce that!"

 

What makes the Gault&Millau Restaurant Guide unique?

We are fiercely independent and proudly international. We think about it as benchmarking rather than reviewing, because the purpose of the Guide is to support and promote the industry. We’re always looking for new talent and those amazing out-of-the-way or hard-to-find restaurants that deserve attention.

How does the reviewing process work?

Our reviewers are anonymous, ensuring a fair review for restaurants and readers alike.  We have a team of nearly 60 reviewers across Australia, who could be anyone and do anything for work, but need to have experience within the food industry. They might be a food blogger for example, or have a catering business. We train them on the Gault&Millau reviewing process, and this teaches them how to benchmark our industry using the same system as all others globally.

You recently released the 2017 Guide.  What’s new?

The Guide used to just be Sydney and Melbourne, but for the first time this year we have also included Brisbane and Canberra. Next year, we will be national. 

In this year’s Guide we discovered some great new restaurants right across the eastern seaboard. Young chefs like Josh Niland from Saint Peter in Paddington (NSW), are doing amazing things with fresh produce. His whole philosophy leans towards sustainability and simplicity – good food done well.

There have been a lot of big changes in the food industry this year – restaurants closing, groups being sold…  What do you think is a reason for this?

Restaurants face a lot of challenges - it's a tough business and you have to work like crazy to endure. You won't find a single person in the industry who says it's easy. I think the biggest issue has recently gone from a lack of customers to a lack of suitably trained staff. It's a real crisis, and a complaint we hear constantly from chefs and restauranteurs.

What are your predictions for dining trends in 2017?

Sadly, I do think we will see more closures. But there are a lot of emerging businesses that are focusing more on great produce, executed with exceptional skill, and I certainly think this will continue into 2017.

At your recent awards, Lûmé was named Gault&Millau’s Restaurant of the Year.  Why did they win?

Three things: technique, attitude, and skill. And they demonstrate this not only in the kitchen but right across their entire business. The team works like a well-oiled machine, with exceptional thought going into the entire dining experience. From the moment you walk in the door, to the moment you walk out, they cater to every second.

What are your recommendations for great places to dine over the summer?

Friday lunch at The Dolphin (Surry Hills, NSW), Saturday lunch at Entrecote (South Yarra, VIC), Aria (Brisbane, QLD) for a special occasion, and Aubergine (Griffith, ACT) for a taste of great local produce.

What makes Australian dining unique to other parts of the world?

Passion, skill, access to produce and amazing restaurant spaces, all rolled into one. These things form a unique culinary perspective. We are definitely The Lucky Country!

 

To find out more about Gault&Millau Australia, get restaurants reviews and more, go to gaultmillau.com.au.