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

Lauren Eldridge.
Lauren Eldridge. Photo: Kristoffer Paulsen

Five visionary chefs dominating kitchens.

Lauren Eldridge, Berowra Waters Inn

The 2016 Young Chef of the Year recipient, who recently took over pastry at Berowra Waters Inn, happens to be this Good Food Guide edition's cover star, with her dessert of yoghurt, rhubarb and Davidson plum.

She is also a force to be reckoned with thanks to her knife's edge aesthetic and ability to turn just about anything – fruit, flower, vegetable – into a dessert.

Firedoor chef Lennox Hastie

Firedoor chef Lennox Hastie Photo: Nikki To

Lennox Hastie, Firedoor

Even before Netflix devoted an entire episode of Chef 's Table to Hastie, The Good Food Guide 2020 Chef of the Year, took his success seriously. More for the sake of the produce – which he holds above most other things – than anything else.

People loving his ability to tease the most subtle flavours out of the roughest, hottest environments is a cross the chef has to bear.

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Paci Petanen, Cafe Paci

The 2016 Good Food Guide Chef of the Year is a force to be reckoned with. Having opened his latest restaurant in Newtown on the brink of the pandemic, he has been doing a brisk, if not slightly sporadic, trade.

Whenever he's been allowed to open it's sometimes as a bakery, selling his signature honeyed rye sourdough, but mostly as the restaurant, re-creating memories of Finnish school lunches and bringing back steak diane.

Federico Zanellato, Lumi

Part chef, part sculptor, part technician, Zanellato walks between worlds, producing highly fragile dishes with surprisingly punchy flavours.

Quail is glazed with the acidic height of native hibiscus then brought back to earth with shiitake mushrooms, and a twirl of tagliolini is rich with southern rock lobster under a starry dusting of sesame seeds.

An immersive, romantic, luxurious experience, from a virtuoso chef.

Brent Savage, Bentley Group

Who could have predicted that one day we might be sitting in a fancy restaurant in the city enjoying a taco party under the sea?

That's what a year of laying low can do for a chef like Brent Savage. Find that taco party at Bentley Restaurant and Bar, by the way.

There's also his vegan menu at Yellow. His refined bistro work at Monopole. His seafood cookery at Cirrus. Pizza at Ria. Is there anything this chef can't turn his hand to?

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 Sydney Morning Herald. Also on sale from December 7 in newsagents and supermarkets.