An Australian restaurant headed by New Zealand chef Ben Shewry has been ranked 21st on the World's 50 Top Restaurants list.
Shewry is head chef at Melbourne's Attica restaurant that was yesterday named Australia's best eatery on Restaurant magazine's annual register, compiled from the opinions of more than 900 international industry experts. The ranking was the latest accolade for Taranaki-born Shewry, who was the Age Good Food Guide chef of the year in 2010 and named Best New Talent in 2008 by Gourmet Traveller.
"It's completely surreal. I never saw it coming and I never expected it," he told goodfood.com.au.
"We've been through many, many ups and downs with the restaurant over the years and some incredible highs and some lows. I always just stay centred through all of that."
Shewry is known for his trailblazing and eclectic flavour combinations that he credits to growing up in rural, coastal Awakino where his family cultivated and caught their own food.
He apprenticed at Wellington's Roxborough Bistro under Mark Limacher, then Michael Lambie and Andrew McConnell in Melbourne and David Thompson at Nahm in London, before taking over Attica's kitchen in 2005.
When Attica first made the list in 2010, Shewry was credited with putting the fine-dining establishment on the map.
"I know there will be much more interest in the restaurant and myself, that's inevitable. But I hope life doesn't change. I kind of like it the way it is." Shewry, who was in London for the awards, planned to celebrate the honours with friends and family.
Spain's El Celler de Can Roca in Girona took the No 1 spot from Denmark's Noma. No New Zealand restaurants made the list.
1. El Celler de Can Roca - Girona, Spain
2. Noma - Copenhagen, Denmark
3. Osteria Francescana - Modena, Italy
4. Mugaritz - San Sebastian, Spain
5. Eleven Madison Park - New York, US
6. D.O.M. - Sao Paulo, Brazil
7. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal - London
8. Arzak - San Sebastian, Spain
9. Steirereck - Vienna, Austria
10. Vendome - Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
Australian restaurants in the 50 Best Restaurants 2013 list:
21. Attica - Melbourne
48. Quay - Sydney