Newcastle chef up there with the world’s best | PHOTOS
NEWCASTLE chef Brett Graham is holding his own against the best chefs in the world.
His London restaurant, The Ledbury, has been voted the 14th best restaurant in the world in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 list. Graham is the highest placed Australian chef on the list, and The Ledbury the highest placed UK restaurant.
Not bad for a Williamtown boy who began his career as a teen at Scratchleys on the Wharf while studying at Hunter TAFE.
Graham moved to Sydney for a three-year stint at Banc restaurant under Liam Tomlin where he won the highly prestigious Josephine Pignolet Award. The win included a trip to the UK where Graham worked under Philip Howard at The Square. More awards followed including the 2002 Young Chef of the Year title.
After working in London kitchens for a number of years, in 2005 Graham opened London’s The Ledbury, which has since earned two Michelin stars. Last year it ranked 20th in Restaurant magazine’s 2015 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Last year Graham returned to Australia to make a guest appearance on Channel 10’s hit cooking show, MasterChef, and found time in his busy schedule to speak to the Newcastle Herald.
Graham spoke about long days at The Ledbury and his ongoing passion for the Notting Hill restaurant, and fostering Newcastle’s culinary talent through his eponymous scholarship that continues to be awarded with the help of the Hunter Culinary Association.
Awards and accolades aside, Graham’s passion for food remains at the heart of everything he does. He admitted he still works “massive days” and is on The Ledbury’s roster along with the rest of the kitchen and front of house staff.
“I still work as any normal cook in the restaurant,” Graham told The Herald.
“At the heart of what I do – I’m not a restaurateur – I’m a chef, I’m a cook. I’m on the roster, I’m still involved in the day-to-day running 100 per cent.
“I still do the kitchen meeting at 9am with all the boys once we’ve done an hour or so of prep starting from 8. I run all those. I work a minimum five days a week. I live and breathe The Ledbury.”
The acclaimed chef said discipline was key to both the success of – and his passion for – The Ledbury.
“By discipline I mean I’m not the most disciplined person, but I mean setting yourself expectations of what you expect from yourself and what your staff should expect from what you do,” he explained.
“I think you get into problems running your own restaurants if you write yourself out of the roster and you aren’t expected to turn up to work.
“Once you’re not expected to turn up to work to be part of your team, that’s when I think problems start. I’ve always kept myself on the roster and always kept focused on what I have to do and that’s kept me in good stead – and it helps keep standards rising at The Ledbury.”
Hunter Culinary Association chairman ben Neil today the Herald on Tuesday: “Having grown up and gone to school with Brett, I’m really pleased to hear of his continuing success. Hunter Culinary Association continues to work closely with Brett each year to develop the Brett Graham scholarship and further expose the region’s rising stars by working with Brett at his London restaurant.”
The Ledbury has gained many accolades including the much coveted second Michelin Star and was recently voted in at number 13 in the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Brett is supported by a young and energetic team, including sous chef Greg Austin.
Melbourne’s Attica, number 32 in 2015, dropped a spot to 33 in this year’s top 50 list, but was awarded the title of Best Restaurant in Australasia. David Thompson’s Bangkok restaurant, Nahm, placed at number 37.
The overall winner was Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, which knocked Girona’s El Celler de Can Roca from the number one spot. It’s the first-ever Italian restaurant to top the list.
This year’s event in New York is the first time the World’s 50 Best has been held outside London since it was founded by Britain’s Restaurant magazine in 2002. The restaurants appearing on the list aren’t formally reviewed in the manner of a traditional guide; the list is compiled instead by tallying the names of eateries voted for anonymously by an international panel of more than a thousand chefs, restaurateurs and members of the food media. The annual awards are being hosted in Melbourne in 2017.
The 2016 top restaurants from 1 through to 50:
1. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
3. Eleven Madison Park, New York City, US
4. Central, Lima, Peru
5. Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
6. Mirazur, Menton, France
7. Mugaritz, Errenteria, San Sebastián, Spain
8. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
9. Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
10. Asador Etxebarri, Axpe, Spain
11. DOM, São Paulo, Brazil
12. Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
13. Maido, Lima, Peru
14. The Ledbury, London, UK
15. Alinea, Chicago, US
16. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain
17. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
18. White Rabbit, Moscow, Russian
19. L’Arpège, Paris, France
20. Amber, Hong Kong
21. Arzak, San Sebastián, Spain
22. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
23. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
24. Le Bernardin, New York City, US
25. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
26. The Clove Club, London, UK
27. Saison, San Francisco, US
28. Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark
29. Tickets, Barcelona, Spain
30. Astrid y Gastón, Lima, Peru
31. RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan
32. Restaurant André, Singapore
33. Attica, Melbourne, Australia
34. Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin, Germany
35. Vendôme, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
36. Boragó, Santiago, Chile
37. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
38. De Librije, Zwolle, The Netherlands
39. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy
40. Relae, Copenhagen, Denmark
41. Fäviken, Järpen, Sweden
42. Ultraviolet, Shanghai, China
43. Biko, Mexico City, Mexico
44. Estela, New York, US
45. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK
46. Combal.Zero, Rivoli, Italy
47. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland
48. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocatino Hills, New York, US
49. Quique Dacosta, Dénia, Spain
50. Septime, Paris, France