THE DIARY

Finalists ... Ross Lusted, Ben Greeno and Phil Wood. Click for more photos

The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2014 awards: the finalists

Finalists ... Ross Lusted, Ben Greeno and Phil Wood. Photo: Wolter Peeters

It's the night of the long knives, but which of Sydney's chefs will be left eating their hats at the 2014 Good Food Guide launch?

Despite all the high-profile closures, the past 21 months have seen some interesting newcomers on the dining scene.

The Diary has been rattling the pans in some of the best-known kitchens around town in anticipation of tonight's gong show and can report there are great expectations for Justin Hemmes' Chinese restaurant Mr. Wong, with chef Dan Hong among the nominations for chef of the year.

Hong is also chef at Ms. G's, which is listed with a single hat in the current guide. The big question is, will it hang on to it?

Momofuku Seiobo at the Star has been nominated for restaurant of the year and Ben Greeno, who works under the restaurant's New York celebrity chef David Chang, is also nominee for chef of the year.

Rumours have it that Chang is in town and is likely to join the more than 500 foodies who have scored invitations to the gala.

Last year Momofuku Seiobo shot to three hats and took out best new restaurant.

Matt Moran is rumoured to have expressed some nervousness about the fate of Aria, which has two hats. But what of his other baby, the much-hyped Chiswick? Will it get a hat?

Guillaume Brahimi is closing Bennelong at the Sydney Opera House in January, which raises the question of how his restaurant will perform.

Among the sleepers to keep an eye out for are The Bridge Room's Ross Lusted, who is nominated for chef of the year, and Martin Benn, who is also nominated for chef of the year, and his dining room Sepia, which is nominated for restaurant of the year.

Also worth noting is the crew from Monopole - Nick Hildebrandt and Brent Savage - who may do very well if the buzz they have been generating is any indication.

Monopole is nominated for best new restaurant, while the pair are on a big expansion program this year, with two new restaurants on the way.

In all, there are about 600 restaurants, bars and cafes listed in this year's guide.

While editor Joanna Savill is tight-lipped about the awards, she indicates there will be a few big ''oooooooh'' moments.

''The reviewing team has had to make some tough calls,'' she said.

Although she hastened to add ''there will be several smiles too''.

It all sounds deliciously tempting.

The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2014 launches tonight. Follow @goodfoodguide on Twitter for the results as they happen. Or keep an eye on the hashtag #goodfoodguide. See the results from around 8.30pm on goodfood.com.au.