Even before Masterchef hit our screens chef’s across Australia had begun to achieve celebrity status with their international awards, cookbook deals and TV shows. These days we are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining on the creations of these food rockstars. If you want to try out some Sydney celebrity chef restaurants on your visit consider one of these, they are among the best restaurants in Sydney.
- Who were the first Celebrity Chefs in Sydney?
- Dining with Sydney’s Original Celebrity Chefs
- The Young guns
- A quick list of links to Sydney’s best celebrity chef restaurants
Who were the first Celebrity Chefs in Sydney?
Among the early favourites was Tetsuya Wakuda of Tetsuya in Sydney. Tetsuya’s was the first Australian restaurant to be listed on the London’s Restaurant Magazine’s Top 50 restaurants in the world list and is the SMH’s most hatted restaurant. If you are planning a visit here, make sure you have reservations weeks in advance.
Tetsuya was followed by Neil Perry of Rockpool fame. Perry’s first restaurant Rockpool spent 20 years as one of the cities favourite establishments winning awards and accolades from around the world until it closed earlier this year. Today Perry has several restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne and a burger chain called Burger Project making his food available to the masses. He has also published some outstanding cookbooks. My pick of his Sydney restaurants is Spice Temple
Next came my favourite home cook Bill Granger. Bill opened Bills at Darlinghurst in 1993 and began serving the breakfasts that have made him famous. Today he has 3 Sydney restaurants and 2 in Japan. His books and TV shows are viewed around the world, and he is listed in almost every Sydney guidebook. If you get a chance for a mid-week breakfast at Bills, I suggest you go.
Australian’s have a love affair with food, and over the last ten years, quite a few chefs have made a move from the kitchen to our TV screens in reality shows, cooking shows and even breakfast television segments. They then go on to publish cookbooks that make the bestseller list each year just in time for mother’s day or Christmas. If you have a favourite why not check out the real thing and visit their restaurant
Dining with Sydney’s Original Celebrity Chefs
Tetsuya Wakuda – Tetsuya
Tetsuya came to Sydney in the early 1980s as a twenty-two-year-old with very limited English and a passion for cooking. In under two years, he had opened his first restaurant in partnership with a head waiter he met while working at Kinselas. He began his own restaurant, Tetsuya’s in Rozelle in 1989. In 2000 the restaurant located to its current premises in Kent Street where it operates from a gorgeous heritage property complete with a Japanese garden. The menu features Japanese flavours prepared with French Techniques using seasonal Australian produce. Bookings for Saturdays are required months in advance although weekday bookings are easier to get.
529 Kent Street Sydney Tel (612) 9267 2900
Bill Granger – Bills
Most famous for his breakfasts of Ricotta pancakes with honeycomb butter and perfect scrambled eggs you will find Bills listed in almost every guidebook to Sydney. I think the breakfasts here are as excellent as they say and always enjoy them, especially the coconut bread but don’t confine yourself to breakfast, Bills lunch and evening dining is also worth a visit. We usually visit the Surry Hills restaurant because parking is easiest but there are also branches at Darlinghurst and Bondi. Bill has eight cookbooks and 2 TV series full of easy food that is great for families or sharing with friends.
The Original Bills – 433 Liverpool St Darlinghurst
Bills Surry Hills – 359 Crown St Surry Hills
Bills Bondi Beach – 79 Hall Street Bondi Beach
Neil Perry – Rockpool Group
Neil Perry was my first chef crush. It was about 30 years ago, and there he was, a good-looking man who could cook and speak about food so well, what more could a girl want right? I have lost count of the number of restaurants Perry has in Sydney, I think we are up to 5, there are also 3 in Melbourne and 1 in Perth. Rockpool Bar and Grill is a two-hatted restaurant in an imposing art deco building that serves Sydney’s perfect steak and a very excellent burger. Spice Temple does fantastic Modern Chinese food with a big chilli hit. Both have great wine lists and require reservations.
Rockpool Bar and Grill – 66 Hunter Street Sydney Tel (61 2) 8078 1900
Spice Temple – 10 Bligh Street Sydney Tel (61 2) 8078 1888
Jade Temple – 11 Bridge Street Sydney
Rosetta (Italian) – 118 Harrington Street The Rocks
Bar Patrón (Mexican) – 2 Phillip St, Circular Quay
Burger Project – If you are on a budget you can still check out Neil’s food at Burger Project.
Matt Moran – Aria and Chiswick
With its dress circle position overlooking Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House Aria is a great place to take visitors or anyone you want to impress. It’s almost impossible to fail to be taken in by the view, and the food is pretty spectacular too.
His more casual offering Chiswick is my preference. I love Chiswick at the Art Gallery of NSW. It’s bright and open with lovely views over the Woolloomooloo and perfect for a leisurely casual meal with first-class produce. There is also a branch at Woollarah
Matt Moran’s first TV show hosting role was on the Chopping Block. He was a judge on the 3rd season of Masterchef Australia He has two cookbooks, one featuring recipes from Aria, and the most recent “When I get home’ featuring meals for the family.
Aria – 1 Macquarie Street, Circular Quay Tel (61 2) 9252 2555
Chiswick – 65 Ocean Street, Woollahra Tel (612) 8388 8688
Chiswick at the Art Gallery of NSW Tel (612) 9225 1819
Kylie Kwong – Billy Kwong
After an apprenticeship with Neil Perry Kylie opened her restaurant, Billy Kwong, almost 20 years ago. Kylie’s philosophy to think globally and act locally is well-known, and her food and recipes feature fresh, sustainable food. She has published five cookbooks and three tv series. After years of not taking bookings, you can now make reservations.
1/28 Macleay St, Potts Point NSW 2011
Luke Nguyen – Red Lantern
I was lucky enough to be introduced to this restaurant shortly after it opened when it was easy to get a table and prices were low. These days it’s busier, and the prices have gone up to match. It might seem hard to justify paying $16 for two rice paper rolls in a city full of great Vietnamese food, but Red Lantern is a special treat place with a decor, ambience and philosophy to warrant its prices.
I love the food here so much, so I have both of Luke cookbooks. In 2010 Red Lantern was voted Top Ten Most Environmentally Sustainable Restaurants Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. It is now the most awarded Vietnamese restaurant in the world.
Try the $55 lunch menu for real value for money, it offers six items in a tasting style service and is a brilliant way to get a get overview of what they do here. They also offer a vegetarian tasting menu.
Red Lantern 60 Riley St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010 Tel: (61 2) 9698 4355
Peter Gilmour – Quay and Bennelong
Owner of two of the cities most famous harbourfront restaurants, Peter Gilmore, is another chef who’s appearances on Masterchef Australia as a guest judge raised his profile and made him a household name with his snow egg challenge. His restaurants are perfect for special occasions favourites where the food, view and atmosphere combine to provide a meal that is sure to impress almost anyone.
Bennelong is located inside the smallest of the shells at the Sydney Opera House. The modern Australian menu showcases the countries finest produce. We celebrated our last anniversary at Bennelong and were really impressed. They offer a variety of dining options from al la carte to bar food. There are pre and post-theatre dining which are priced very well. Reservations are required for restaurant dining, however, the bar area is a walk in with no bookings required. This is a great way to sample the menu without having to spend too much.
The Young guns
Reynold Poernomo – Koi Dessert bar
Appearing on 2015 season of Masterchef Australia Reynold was a favourite among viewers for his amazing dessert creations. He may not have won the title, but he has undoubtedly been among the most successful opening his restaurant earlier this year. While it is called a dessert bar, Koi also serves a degustation menu upstairs in an area manned by his brother Arnold, chef and former Masterchef Indonesia judge. This place is well worth checking out if you have a sweet tooth.
46 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008 (612) 9212 1230
Andy Allen – Three Blue Ducks
Andy Allen appeared on season 4 of Masterchef and is now joined the Three Blue Ducks family owning and operating the restaurant at foodie hotspot Rosebery in Sydney’s inner south. The menu offers lots of healthy fresh ingredients and an Argentinian grill in the garden.
- Bill Granger – Bills, Bills Surry Hills, Bills Woollarah
- Neil Perry – Rockpool, Rockpool Bar and Grill, Spice Temple
- Luke Nguyen – Fat Noodle and Red Lantern on Riley
- Matt Moran – Aria and Chiswick (lovely)
- Kylie Kwong – Billy Kwong
- Luke Mangan – Glass
- Peter Gilmore – Quay and Bennelong
- Colin Fassnidge – 4Foureen
- Reynold Poernomo – Koi Chippendale
International Celebrity Chefs include
Books from Australian chefs can make great souvenirs and can be found at Dymocks or Kinokuniya in Sydney. Bills Sydney Food is my favourite.
Which celebrity restaurant in Sydney would you most like to visit?
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