Good Food Guide 2022: The It List - the Melbourne tastemakers

Brae owner-chef Dan Hunter.
Brae owner-chef Dan Hunter. Photo: Supplied

Visionary Victorian chefs dominating the kitchen.

Dan Hunter, Brae

Like the native plants, fruit trees and lush vegetable beds that now fringe his hilltop farmhouse restaurant, Dan Hunter's vision for Brae has matured with each season.

Since taking over the idyllic site with partner Julianne Bagnato in 2013, Hunter has reduced the number of meal services but added accommodation and gardens, all in the name of sustainability.

Ben Shewry, Attica

No other chef rolled with the punches of the past 18 months like Attica's fearless leader.

He graffitied the walls of his Ripponlea fine diner with the words "Never Give Up", then stuck to the mantra, dominating the takeaway game, starring on social media, giving free meals to jobless international hospitality workers and launching a pop-up in the Yarra Valley.

All while refining one of the most riveting tasting menus in the country.

Hugh Allen, Vue de Monde

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Vue de Monde's executive chef trained at Noma in Copenhagen before taking the top job at the Rialto restaurant in 2019, which has since been rechristened "Hugh de Monde".

Stepping into Shannon Bennett's shoes is no small task, but Allen's measured and elegant touch has made Vue better than ever, bringing youthful energy to the lavish, native-driven menu.

Jung Eun Chae, Chae

Chae became Melbourne's most in-demand culinary star overnight when she opened a six-person restaurant in her one-bedroom Brunswick apartment, attracting a waiting list of thousands.

Her one-woman show offers diners a rare and delicious glimpse into Korean slow food and fermentation.

Now she's moved to Cockatoo, with space to grow her own produce and expand her production of kimchis, gochujang and soy sauce. New bookings open in January – get in quick.

Chef and co-owner Khanh Nguyen at Aru, Melbourne.
Pic credit: Kristoffer Paulsen

Aru is the second restaurant from Khanh Nguyen. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

Khanh Nguyen, Aru

After hitting the scene with Sunda in 2018, Khanh Nguyen has scored another hit with Aru.

He brings his Vietnamese heritage and savvy credentials from Sydney ventures Mr Wong, Bentley and Noma Australia to the table with a swathe of Insta-friendly signature dishes, from smoke-kissed ruffles of wagyu tongue to glassy skinned dry-aged duck.

Nguyen has the talent, passion and vision to suggest the hype will endure.

The It Lists are brought to you by Citi

This article features in the Good Food Guide 2022 magazine, published on November 30 with presenting partners Citi and Vittoria Coffee, and free with The Age. Also on sale from December 7 in newsagents and supermarkets.