The Good Food Guide goes national

For the first time, the Good Food Guide  this year will go national.
For the first time, the Good Food Guide this year will go national. Photo: Eddie Jim

In a historic development, the Good Food Guide will become a national edition for the first time.

The 2018 edition, to be published later this year, will review 500 restaurants around Australia and award hats to the best places from Darwin to Hobart, Melbourne to Perth, and Sydney to Brisbane.

The move builds on a proud 38-year tradition. The Age Good Food Guide was launched in 1979 and The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide followed five years later. The Brisbane Times Good Food Guide was added in 2012.

Collectively, they have become Australia's most trusted restaurant guides, compiled by respected critics and edited by Myffy Rigby and Roslyn Grundy.

"Our defining strength, and the reason people trust the Good Food Guide, is the independence of our critics," says co-editor Myffy Rigby. "Our reviewers arrive unannounced and pay for their own meals. We're stringent when it comes to judging. That means we look at service, ambience, X factor, and most importantly, food to award those all-important hats."

Hats are awarded to the best of the best. To achieve a hat is a pinnacle of a chef's career and a restaurant's history, and the term "hatted" has become part of the Australian lexicon.

Leo Schofield, one of the founding editors of The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, launching the 1993 edition.
Leo Schofield, one of the founding editors of The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, launching the 1993 edition. Photo: Paul Jones

The Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year, Citi Chef of the Year and Citi Service Excellence awards will now be national and will remain two of Australia's most coveted accolades.

The Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year award will also go national, with applications sought from across the country. Previous winners include some of Australia's best known chefs, among them Mark Best, Dan Hong and Mitch Orr.

"The marriage of The Age, Brisbane Times and Sydney Morning Herald Young Chef of the Year awards will give up-and-coming chefs a stronger platform to be heard and recognised," says co-editor Roslyn Grundy.

Damien Pignolet with pastry chef Lauren Eldridge, winner of the 2016 Josephine Pignolet award.
Damien Pignolet with pastry chef Lauren Eldridge, winner of the 2016 Josephine Pignolet award.  Photo: James Brickwood

"A young George Calombaris was one of the very first winners of the coveted Age award, and we hope to see more names in bright lights in years to come."

The Good Food Guide continues to bring readers the expert local knowledge it always has – reviews of restaurants, cafes, bars – along with greatly expanded interstate coverage, making the Guide the trusted source of information about where to find the best – and hatted – venues in every capital and beyond.