Culinary Masters Winners

We eagerly plate-up nine positives to come from a chaotic year in hospitality – introducing the impressive class of 2021.

By Robb Report Staff 10/01/2022

What a year. After the most challenging 12 months in hospitality in living memory, Australian hospitality has – somehow – produced a bumper crop of alluring new places to eat.

The class of 2021 would be impressive in a regular year, but in the face of the havoc wrought by the pandemic, their achievements are even more remarkable.

Whether it’s veterans rolling the dice on another round or young guns sharpening their focus, whether paying homage to the Francophile classics (if not with the odd cheeky antipodean twist) or forging new ground with less familiar plays of flavour, the talent is running hot.

In acknowledging this heady collection of talent, we’ve made changes to the distribution of the coveted Culinary Masters crowns. No longer the reserve of just young chefs making inroads the past 12 months, we’ve expanded to include all behind the burners (whether new or established), extending further to the overseers and restaurateurs serving up exciting new ventures and without whom so many wielding the knives wouldn’t have an opportunity to flourish.

And so, introducing the Robb Report Culinary Masters of 2021…

Khanh Nguyen, chef, Aru and Sunda, Melbourne

Khanh Ngyuen. Credit: Kristoffer Paulsen.

Rare is the chef who has done a better job than Khanh Nguyen of diagramming the through-line from ingredients native to Australia to the food traditions of our nearest neighbours up in Southeast Asia. Fewer still have made that lesson taste so damn good. To eat his food at Sunda, or at Aru, the new fire-focused spin-off he opened in 2021, is to slap your forehead over and over – of course these flavours work together; this is all the same part of the world! – before diving back in for more. And the flavours we’re talking about are not small. Pepperberry and betel leaf frame grilled wagyu tongue in a nod to the bo la lot of Nguyen’s Vietnamese heritage, while a flurry of sweet spanner-crab meat and white kampot pepper make a luxury of fried rice. Desserts are no less lavish – pandan perfuming a roast-potato cream caramel, say, or coconut and cultured cream conspiring to take passionfruit pavlova in a bold new direction – and cocktails driven by that same more-is-more approach make for a meal that comes out swinging, whatever the occasion.

aru.net.au 

 

Luke Burgess, chef/restaurateur, Seven and a Half, Hobart

Seven and a Half chef, Luke Burgess.

It wouldn’t be quite right to say Luke Burgess rebooted the Tasmanian restaurant scene on his own. But if you were looking for an individual who you could credit with transforming Hobart from a place of only passing interest to the destination diner into, well, a dining destination, he’d be right at the top of your list. Garagistes, the fine-dining restaurant Burgess ran to international acclaim from 2010 to 2015, raised the stakes for ambitious, locavore cuisine in Tasmania, and his brand-new project, Seven and a Half, has changed the game again. Perched in a jewel-box of a room on top of a tower in downtown Hobart, it offers rarefied omakase-style dining for just 10 diners at a time, once a week. Burgess works without a menu and without a parachute, just he and the guests and some excellent handpicked wine and sake. The intimacy of the setting gives him the freedom to tweak the menu as he goes and to showcase superb niche produce you’re not likely to see anywhere else.

Wild venison might appear as salami in an array of snacks alongside sashimi of banded morwong and a ‘sando’ of salted radish at one sitting, for instance; asparagus teamed with an ajo blanco made of hempseed and goat’s ricotta and with lovage and a sauce of nori and walnut the following week; a pecorino flavoured with native pepper makes the surprising accent for egg noodles with venus clams. There’s nothing quite like it, on or off the island, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most sought-after tables in town.

lukeburgess.com.au

Rosheen Kaul, chef, Etta, Melbourne

Etta chef Rosheen Kaul.

Blame it on the pork rib. Sure, when Rosheen Kaul landed at Etta she had plenty of other good things on her menu – the crunchy, spicy little pop-in-the-mouth fried school prawns with curry leaves, for one thing. But the pork rib, a foot-long hunk of a thing served on the bone, its smoky, succulent heft balanced by an oyster cream and pickled baby turnips – well, this was a statement of intent. It said ‘here is a chef who likes to cook with fire, who is clear-eyed enough to take inspiration from a dish like Korea’s bo ssäm, and remix it, riffing on that dish’s traditional accompaniments of kimchi and freshly shucked oysters, while making it completely her own’. It also said, ‘this person can really, really cook – this is ridiculously tasty’.

In landing on her feet at this hip, smartly appointed east Brunswick wine bar, Kaul has given diners the gift of a one-plus-one-equals-three situation. Owner Hannah Green keeps an enviable cellar and sets a lively, welcoming tone on the floor, and together with Kaul’s surfeit of bright, clever ideas in the kitchen, you’ve got a package that’s so much greater than the sum of its (formidable) parts.

ettadining.com.au

 

Chris Lucas, restaurateur, Society, Melbourne

Restaurateur Chris Lucas.

The road to Society for Chris Lucas has been long, hard and paved with serious investment. But to see the room thronged with the good and the great of Australia, some serious table-hopping and people-watching playing out at the booths under the vast, glinting chandeliers, it must feel like the years of heartache, and the last-minute curveball of a parting of ways with Martin Benn, the former Sepia chef enlisted to open the restaurant, have all been worth it.

Take a look around Society’s elegantly muted Collins Street dining room and you’ll see diners laying down substantial cash for a wine list that goes long on Romanée-Conti and other five-figure bottles, diving deep into a cocktail bar rich in vintage offerings (hello $125 Martini made with 1950s spirits) and of course plunging into the menu with a fervour sharpened like never before by lockdown. And what does all that outlay get the happy guest? Plates that combine a tightly edited, almost Midcentury Modern aesthetic, sharpened with the occasional Japanese accent. Raw tuna has seldom been more melting than here, wrapped in buttery ribbons of jamón Ibérico, while crème fraîche shot through with wasabi, a plate of Japanese-style pickled cucumbers, and a shio koji jus accompany the epic smoked wagyu prime rib. Heady stuff. Culinary Masters might historically have been all about chefs, but in Society today we find the triumph of the vision of the restaurateur.

societyrestaurant.com

 

 

Nik Hill, chef/restaurateur, Porcine, Sydney

Nik Hill (left) and Harry Levy (right).

Speaking of Sepia, Nik Hill certainly can’t be said to be following blindly in the footsteps of his alma mater. After he left the Sydney fine diner, he got into smoking eels, then did a turn cooking pub food at Woolloomooloo landmark The Old Fitzroy, then swerved again with Anglo-Italian food at The Milan Cricket Club pop-up before settling at Porcine. You might struggle to find intimations of Sepia or anything Anglo-Italian in Hill’s menu, but his smoked eel appears right at the top – albeit in the form of a smoked-eel vinegar accompanying rock oysters.

A bistro above a bottle-shop, Porcine is as lusty as the name would suggest, channelling the gutsier side of the French culinary canon. Grilled ox tongue will appear one night au poivre-style in a glossy pepper sauce, and on another cooked en croûte, swaddled in pastry and foie gras. As rich as it all sounds, Hill has the palate and the technical finesse to keep it all in balance – and there’s always another dip into the exceptional drinks list if the occasion demands a corrective.

porcine.com.au

 

 

Ben Russell, chef/restaurateur, Rothwell’s, Brisbane

Ben Russell, chef Rothwell’s.

Who better to lead the bistro renaissance for the Brisbane CBD than Ben Russell? Having cut his teeth as a young chef in the 1990s at Est Est Est, the famously tough Melbourne restaurant known for producing some of the greatest kitchen talent of a generation, he did the obligatory stint in Europe before returning to Australia to become one of Matt Moran’s most trusted lieutenants. Russell moved to Queensland to open the Brisbane outpost of Moran’s Aria flagship, and after a stellar run at the top echelon of the city’s finer dining, he’s back with a bang at Rothwell’s.

Inside the Rothwell’s dining room.

Opened with Dan Clark, of the celebrated Addley Clark Fine Wines import company and 1889 Enoteca, the restaurant is the kind of meeting of kitchen talent, a building with great bones and a backer with a frankly exceptional wine cellar that big-city diners dream of. Is Rothwell’s going to stake the sort of claim on the big end of town that Rockpool Bar & Grill holds in Sydney? With Russell plating up perfectly polished renditions of steak tartare, prawn cocktail and a seafood platter worth pushing the boat out for, the indications are positive. And if the offering from the grill – a full chorus of big, juicy rib-eyes and T-bones complemented by onion rings, watercress salad and a full battery of condiments – doesn’t get you reaching happily for the Barolo section of the wine list, the beef Wellington, resplendent in a golden jacket of fine pastry and served to share, will definitely get you over the line.

rothwellsbrisbane.com.au

 

Daniel Pepperell and Michael Clift, chefs/restaurateurs, Bistrot 916, Sydney

Michael Clift (left), Daniel Pepperell (centre) and Andy Tyson (right) by Jason Loucas

Daniel Pepperell is the master of the knowing twist. You wouldn’t call him a deconstructionist – not for Pepperell the blobs, foams and smears. No, his signature move is more a savvy spin. The dish he plays with will remain recognisable, true to its roots, yet the flick Pepperell (and now his friend and chef-at-arms Michael Clift) gives a given classic as it leaves his pass makes it distinctively, recognisably his own. At 10 William Street he enriched his Bolognese with a swig of fish sauce, and daubed caviar on his carpaccio. At Restaurant Hubert he plated his escargots with XO sauce butter and laid a shimmering maple-syrup jelly over his satin duck liver parfait. And now, here at Bistrot 916, the venue he opened with Clift and sommelier savant Andy Tyson, that same joie de vivre remains at the fore. There’s a zesty, give-the-people-what they want spirit here that’s entirely fitting for the bistro genre and for the raffish Potts Point setting. Among the main courses Clift and Pepperell offer not just a classically crowd-pleasing steak frites – there’s also a duck frites, a mushroom frites and, for the truly OTT option, a market-priced lobster frites to boot. It’s exuberant, it’s packed with flavour, and it’s a lot of fun.

bistrot916.com

 

Blaze Young, chef, Nieuw Ruin, Perth

‘Good food. Good cocktails. Weird wine.’ Nieuw Ruin’s name might seem a bit curly on first glance, but the mission statement is very straightforward. And while the wine part of the equation will elicit different reactions depending on which side of the minimal-intervention fence you stand, Blaze Young’s brief is to the point and a delight to all. She fashions garfish into rollmops, serves her crudités with French onion dip and curries her fries. Her gift for handling offal has brought many a formerly hesitant diner into the fold, not least for her Wagin duck livers, which she serves on toast, tossed in a cream sauce spiked with a dose of hot mustard that judiciously cuts the livers’ intensity. Best of all, her food is wine-friendly, even the spicy stuff, from the oysters and mignonette (just made for a lush Fanny Sabré aligoté) to the Torbray asparagus and zucchini with goat’s curd (the perfect alibi for a bottle of Sebastien Riffault Sancerre). Here’s a young chef very much on the up – and you’ll want to be there for the ride.

nruin.com

 

Clare Smyth, chef/restaurateur OnCore, Sydney

Michelin starred chef, Clare Smyth.

How do you follow up a career that takes in experience under Alain Ducasse and Gordon Ramsay at their respective peaks, that has earned an MBE, and the first and only three-star rating from Michelin for a restaurant run by a woman in the UK, not to mention being named The World’s Best Female Chef by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants? If you’re Clare Smyth, your encore is OnCore, planting the flag in Sydney with a sister restaurant to London’s Core.

What sets Smyth apart from the rest of the Franglais fine-dining pack? There’s the clever, playful weave of British classics and Australian ingredients, for one. Playful, that is, but underpinned by serious craft. Fans will be thrilled to learn that ‘potato and roe’ has made the journey with her. The Core signature dish pays homage to Smyth’s Northern Irish roots with a potato cooked long and slow to a perfectly luscious texture before being topped with roes of herring and trout. Not for nothing did Bloomberg call it “the world’s best potato”. The plush room commands views across the harbour to the horizon, and while the ‘casino’ setting might put cynics in mind of a cash-grab from a chef domiciled on the other side of the world, dishes this flavoursome and elegant can only be executed by a team with total commitment. It’s the real deal.

crownsydney.com.au

Join us for an exclusive evening of fine dining at Society Melbourne – a Robb Report Culinary Master for 2021. To secure your ticket, book now via the Robb Report Shop.

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Everybody Loves Naomi 

Fashion fans adore her. And so do we. Lucky, then, that a new exhibition is paying homage to four decades of snake-hipped catwalking.

By Joseph Tenni 22/06/2024

Naomi Campbell contains multitudes. Since emerging on the scene in 1986, modelling for British designer Jasper Conran, the statuesque stunner has used the runway for takeoff. She has ventured into all aspects of the culture, from Vogue to Playboy and reality TV. In the business arena, she has dabbled in publishing and the two F&Bs (fragrance and beauty, and food and beverage). Her philanthropic efforts are legion.

Naomi is better known than any of her peers and, aged 54, remains more relevant than ever. As a testament to her pervading influence, a new exhibition, Naomi: In Fashion, is opening at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Celebrating her 40 years in the spotlight, the show includes clothes from the model’s closet and some of the designer fashion she has helped to immortalise.

We all know her snake-hipped walk, her glowing skin, her famous paramours, and—yes—her many tantrums and tiaras. But how much do we love her exactly? Let’s count some of the ways. 

1. She Was Born to Be Famous

Many people know Naomi for her appearances in music videos for Michael Jackson’s In the Closet and George Michael’s Freedom! ’90—the latter also featuring fellow supermodels Linda, Cindy and Christy. But Naomi has been in front of the camera since she was a child, and her prolific music-video career predates her modelling. At 8, she appeared in the official video for Bob Marley’s 1978 hit Is This Love. At 13, Culture Club cast her as a tap-dancing teen in I’ll Tumble 4 Ya. It would be another two years before she was discovered by model scout Beth Boldt, while shopping in London’s Covent Garden.

Courtesy Off-White. Photo Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

2. She Hits All the Right Notes

As anyone who has ever seen Unzipped, the 1995 cult fashion documentary by Douglas Keeve, Naomi always has a song in her heart. She put her mouth where her money was in 1994 and recorded an album, Babywoman. The cover art featured Naomi, photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth, shaving her legs while sitting on the toilet. Fittingly, the album was canned—despite assistance from contributors like Donna Summer and PM Dawn. 

3. She’s Always Ready for Her Close-Up
Hollywood’s history is full of models who went on to become successful actors. Naomi is not one of them. But not for want of trying. Her turn as a nightclub singer in Vanilla Ice’s 1991 movie Cool as Ice flies under the radar but doesn’t deserve to. Nor does her scene-stealing cameo as a French cheese shopper in The Night We Never Met, alongside Matthew Broderick and Jeanne Tripplehorn. Or her playing a sexy telephone operator in Spike Lee’s Girl 6. Who else has that kind of range? 

4. She Tells It Like It Is

We’d be remiss not to mention her 1994 novel Swan. A roman a clef about a young girl breaking into the modelling industry, flanked by her four besties who are also divas in training heels, it certainly played with genres. A murder-mystery-cum-sexy-romance-cum-vocational-advice page-turner, or something like that, this guilty pleasure was cruelly overlooked and relegated to the annals of bargain bins everywhere. 

5. She’s Got a Mind for Business

Naomi has been vocal over the years about making less money than her white peers and was not going to wait for the industry to catch up. Instead, she has ventured into businesses ranging from her former stake in the Fashion Cafe in New York to her signature fragrances, first released in 1999. What does Naomi smell like? Subtle yet complicated, consisting of top notes of peach, coconut and bergamot with a deep, woody base of cedar and sandalwood—apparently.

6. She Gives Until It Hurts

For a so-called narcissist, Naomi has often put her fame to philanthropic use. She has galvanised black models in fashion with the Black Girls Coalition and has raised money for Africa, Haiti and disaster relief worldwide, including after the Mumbai terrorist attacks. When she was dating the Russian billionaire and Aman Resorts owner Vladislav Doronin, she became committed to saving the tiger. Is there anything this overachiever can’t do?

7. She Can Make Hay From Anything

When she was sentenced to community service following allegations by a former employer that Naomi had attacked her with a mobile phone, the model emerged from her punishment dressed in couture and trailed by a photo crew who were shooting a fashion layout of her for W magazine. And when she was summoned in 2010 to appear in a war crimes trial against former Liberian president Charles Taylor—in relation to an uncut blood diamond he’d allegedly given her—our girl showed up in an Azzedine Alaïa twin-set and wearing a silver “evil eye” necklace, turning the courtroom into a photo opportunity.

8. She’ll Be on Your Side for Evermore
The fashion industry is hardly known for its loyalty or congeniality, but Naomi has maintained decades-long friendships with not only her supermodel sisters like Christy Turlington but also some of the most powerful and difficult players, including John Galliano and Marc Jacobs. That she has remained tight with so many of her friends is not lost on her adoring public. She must be a loyal person and in return, fans everywhere remain loyal to her.

Naomi: In Fashion runs from June 22, 2024, until April 16, 2025, at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; vam.ac.uk

Courtesy Vivienne Westwood. Photo Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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The Sapphire Dinner 2024 Raises Support for Ocean Conservation

This year’s boldfaced bash raised funds for our critically under-supported national treasures. 

By Horacio Silva 22/06/2024

The big fish of Sydney society came out Thursday night for the third annual Sapphire Dinner to raise much-needed money for ocean conservation. Held in conjunction with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the boldfaced bash was the first sit-down dinner held at the Tank, a repurposed World War II fuel container that sits beneath the Art Gallery’s new wing. 

Set against a backdrop of immersive ocean-inspired video projections by South Korean digital creators d’strict, and with a dress code that inspired guests to recycle their most fabulous fashions, the zero-waste dinner supports The Sapphire Project’s mission to galvanise the community to take action to protect our oceans and the Great Barrier Reef.

Deep-pocketed VIPs who walked the evening’s blue carpet included  Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull, real estate maven Monika Tu, Penelope Seidler, Anna Marsden (Managing Director of Great Barrier Reef Foundation), Michael and Tina Brand, Andrew Cameron, MCA Chair Lorraine Tarabay, Myer boss Olivia Wirth, benefactors Paris Neilsen and Beau Neilson, and Paul Howes and Olivia Wirth, the power couple known as ‘Paulivia’. 

Retired swimmer Giaan Rooney MC’d the event, hosted by Sapphire Committee co-chairs Hayley Baillie and Ryan Gollan and committee members Ian Thorpe AM, Luke Hepworth, Clare Herschell, Susan Wynne, Brioney Prier, Bianca Rinehart, Doris Ma, Kate Champion, Ellie Aitken, and Chong Chua. 

A troupe of former Australian Ballet dancers and a musical performance by the Fijian-Australian singer and actress Paulini entertained the revellers.   

Among the auctioned items was an original work by Del Kathryn Barton, which raised more than $200,000 in a high-spirited bidding war led by Four Pillars Gin founder Stu Gregor, whose expletive-laden entreaties were suitably salty. 

Nobody minded, given that more than a million dollars were raised to support the criminally underfunded ocean conservation (it’s estimated that only about 2 percent of philanthropy in Australia goes towards the preservation of our precious national treasures), with funds going to support important initiatives such as The Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the University of Sydney’s One Tree Island Research Station, the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station, the Australian Sea Lion Recovery Foundation and Biopixel Oceans Foundation’s Project Hammerhead

The Sapphire Project Dinner 2024
Clare Herschell, Kate Champion, Bianca Rinehart & Hayley Baillie
The tablescapes at the Sapphire Project Dinner
Ian Thorpe
Adrian and Beck Buchan
Monika Tu
The Sapphire Project Dinnner 2024
Lucy & Malcolm Turnbull
Sapphire Committee co-chairs Hayley Baillie & Ryan Gollan

For further information, visit SapphireProject.com.au

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The 10 Best Omakase in Sydney

Sydney’s best Japanese chef’s-table dining experiences.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 06/06/2024

In Japan, where food is a cultural art form, omakase stands for traditional Japanese foods made with seasonal ingredients. A good omakase meal, prepared with purity and mindfulness, can make an unforgettable imprint on the culinary memory. Yet in a land defined by seasonal traditions, omakase is a relatively new concept.

Omakase originated in Japan in the 1970s as affluent Japanese began to dine more regularly at first-rate sushi counters. Bowing to the expertise of the sushi master, omakase loosely translates to “I’ll leave it to you.” In a setting where money is no object, letting the chef decide was designed as a chic way to take the awkwardness out of ordering.

In Australia where there’s an abundance of fresh seafood, omakase menus have experienced a recent rise in popularity. Today omakase is any series of small dishes served directly by the chef to the diner. Each part of the meal is presented on beautiful ceramics and lacquer wear, with a great —and somewhat— intimidating reverence for elegant details. It’s a chance to see a chef’s knife skills up close and get a feel for their cooking style.

Omakase menus are based on whatever is freshest at the market and can be influenced by the chef’s mood, expertise, and response to the guest. They can be slowly paced like a ceremony—hushed and reverential—but they can also be rowdy, humorous, and personal.
Here we give you 10 of the best to try in Sydney.

Yoshi’s Omakase at Nobu Crown Sydney

Crown Sydney, Level 2/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo. Open: 12–3 pm, 5:30–9:30 pm Phone: 02 8871 7188 Reservations: F&B-SYD-Nobu@crownresorts.com.au; $380 per head (including matched wine and sake). Crownsydney.com.au

Sushi Oe

16/450 Miller St, Cammeray; Tue – Sat. SMS only 0451 9709 84 E: jizakana16@gmail.com Phone: 0426 233 984 $230 per head. jizakana.com.au

Kisuke with Yusuke Morita

50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point; Tuesday – Saturday: 17:30 – 10.45 (closed Sunday/ Monday) $185-200 per head Kisukepottspoint.com

Haco 

102/21 Alberta St, Sydney. Lunch, Friday to Saturday 12 -2:00 pm Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday 5:45 pm – 8:1 5pm (closed Sunday & Mondays) P: 0408 866 285                                     E: haco@hacosydney.com.au; $150 – $210 Hacosydney.com.au

Kuon

Shop 04 2/58 Little Hay St, Sydney, Lunch: Fri-Sun 12:30 pm. Dinner  Tue-Sun 5:15 pm or 7:45 pm sittings.  Reservation via SMS at 0488 688 252; $220 per head @kuon.omakase

Sokyo 

The Darling, Level G, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont. Open dinner Monday to Thursday from 5:45 pm P: 1800 700 700 $300 per head Sokyo.com.au

Kuro

368 Kent St, Sydney; Open Tue – Wed – Thur: 6 pm Fri & Sat: 5:30 pm P: 02 9262 1580, reservations@kurosydney.com $220 per head. Kurosydney.com;

Choji Omakase

Level 2, 228 Victoria Ave, Chatswood —upstairs from Choji Yakiniku. Every Monday to Wednesday at 6.30 pm. One seating per day only. $295 per head. Chojiomakase.com.au

Gold Class Daruma

The Grace Hotel, Level 1/77 York St, Sydney; 12–2:30 pm, 5:30–9.00 pm Phone: (02) 9262 1190 M: 0424 553 611 booking@goldclassdaruma.com.au·$120 – $150 per head Goldclassdaruma.com.au

Besuto

Besuto Omakase, Sydney Place precinct, 3 Underwood Street, Circular Quay. Omakase is available to book for dinner – Tuesday to Saturday. 5:30 pm & 8pm sittings. From $250. Besuto.com.au

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is no soy and wasabi offered during my omakase meal?
Even though sushi and sashimi are being served, the chef is serving each piece of sushi so quickly and directly that the chef is applying the wasabi and soy to the sushi themselves. Watch as they brush the top of the fish with soy and dab a tiny amount of wasabi on the rice, under the fish. You should not need to add extra, and in fact, it can be insulting to the chef to add more. Bathing the bottom of the rice of your sushi in soy sauce is considered bad manners, as it is seen as detracting from the flavour of the fish.

Nobu, Sydney

Can an omakase experience accommodate my dietary needs?
Although there is often little variation once the chef has set the daily menu, some customisation is possible. Advise the restaurant when you book and remind them of allergies or aversions again as you sit down. They will let you know when you book if your allergy is possible for the chef. Japanese menus feature a lot of seafood and dashi so accommodating a no seafood request can be genuinely tricky.

What are the golden rules for chopstick etiquette?
Use your chopstick holder in between eating, rather than putting chopsticks on your plate. Don’t use your chopsticks to gesticulate or point; if offering food to someone to try, never pass food directly from your chopsticks to theirs. Rather place the food onto a small plate and let them pick it up.
Never touch communal or shared food with your chopsticks. The longer, slightly larger chopsticks are like sharing cutlery, never put these in your mouth.

Without a menu, how can I know what I am eating during omakase?
Omakase is often a no-menu situation, and you are expected to try new things. Attending an omakase experience with an open, trusting mind yields the best results.
There are Wagyu and tempura omakase that reflect the chef’s personal predilections and training, but in a standard luxury omakase, the format will include a lot of freshly caught seafood and will usually kick off with a delicate appetiser. This will be followed by a sashimi and sushi course, a savoury egg custard (chawanmushi) with meat and seafood, a cooked or blow-torched market fish, a soup course, and dessert.

Can I talk to the chef during omakase? What is the protocol?
Guests at an omakase experience are welcome to ask questions of the chef; in fact, interacting with the chef is part of the experience. It is considered polite to ask questions or inquire about the food so they can explain.

What is best to pair with omakase  in terms of drinks?
In general, wine and sake are a perfect match for omakase. Aged fish and vinegar have strong umami flavours so depending on which course you enjoy, different wine and sake will pair well. Dry chilled sake is a great choice. Amazing sakes are imported into Australia, so trust the restaurant to advise you and take you on a sake journey at the same time.  If you don’t like sake, drinking chardonnay, a crisp young riesling, or even a dry complex Riesling is also totally acceptable. All three styles help bring out the flavour of the fish. Champagne can also be good. Try a blanc de blancs— 100% chardonnay —for a great way to start the meal. As you progress, remember that sake is good for dishes with a strong taste, such as uni and eel.

Nobu, Sydney

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The Tod’s SS25 Men’s Collection in Milan Was a Showcase of “Artisanal Intelligence”

It was also the debut men’s collection by creative director Matteo Tamburini.

By Josh Bozin 20/06/2024

Earlier this week, Tod’s presented its SS25 men’s collection at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC) for Milan Fashion Week, where all eyes were fixed on Matteo Tamburini and his debut menswear collection as Tod’s newest creative director.

Striking “a balance between tradition and modernity”, was the former Bottega Veneta designer’s intention, and indeed his showcase offerered a spotlight on the quality, materials, and detailing that are central to the Tod’s wardrobe.

“The collection is more about subtraction rather than addition, highlighting the very elevated, timeless and relaxed materials,” says Tamburini via a statement.

Tod’s

In line with Tod’s restrained design codes, the garments presented were characterised by timelessness, unmistakable Italian flair, yet a casualness appropriate for everyday wear. Only the best leathers were used in the collection—thanks to the Pashmy project, which Tod’s unveiled in January to champion high-end Italian materials—used in creating garments like the Tod’s Bomber, the Gio Jacket, the Shirt Jacket, the Di Bag sack, as well as footwear staples, like the Tod’s T-Riviera.

Of course, the iconic Gommino driving shoe wasn’t without an update, too: you’ll find a new sabot interpretation, as well as the Bubble Gommino introduced in a new boat model with the T-bar accessory.

“Craftsmanship” was at the forefront of messaging, with chairman and chief executive officer of the Tod’s Group, Diego Della Valle, reiterating the message of honouring artisanal arts in an increasingly digital-first world.”[It’s] important to uphold artisanal intelligence, keeping under control artificial intelligence as it is now developing rapidly and powerfully,” he said via a statement.

“Individuals and artisanal intelligence at the centre, with its traditions and values, will contribute to keep artificial intelligence in check. Our Italian craftsmanship and supply chain can be an example of the combination of tradition and the new speed of artificial intelligence.”

tods.com

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Pitti Uomo’s Best-Dressed Men Cut Through the Noise With Personal Style

From vintage gems to tasteful tailoring, attendees of Florence’s biannual tradeshow brought their best sartorial selves.

By Naomi Rougeau, Lorenzo Sodi 20/06/2024

Whether or not you’re well versed in the ins and outs of Pitti Uomo, the biannual menswear tradeshow in Florence that brings together buyers, press—and, naturally, a vast ostentation of peacocks—the chances are that photos from the gathering are still making their way into your newsfeed. You might even smirk at the mention of it. To be sure, you’ll encounter plenty of “overdressing” strolling through the main venues but by and large, great personal style manages to cut through the noise.

Part of what makes the Pitti scene so exciting is that menswear moves relatively slowly. It’s less about seeing something earth shatteringly new but rather gradual shifts and discovering fresh ways to put things together. Menswear regulars such as Alessandro Squarzi, owner of a considerable vintage archive that influences his Milanese boutique Fortela, can be relied upon to provide inspiration on how to make tried and true staples and silhouettes feel modern.

Speaking of new old things, vintage fashions made their way into the chat in a big way this June, whether in terms of rare finds or sustainable efforts via upcycling, fabric development and natural dyes (Paris-based De Bonne Facture achieved an ideal medium brown using coffee, for instance). At the heart of the conversation was another bona fide vintage guru Maurizio Donadi who made a case for the timelessness and democratic nature of indigo with his centuries-spanning exhibit of antique garments from around the globe.

Below you’ll find a dozen of our favorite looks from Pitti Uomo 106, lensed by our eagle-eyed street-style photographer Lorenzo Sodi. We hope they inspire.

Lorenzo Sodi

A lesson in simplicity and the power of a classic palette—good quality vintage accents such as a turquoise embellished belt buckle add interest to timeless workwear. Ray-Ban’s universally-flattering Wayfarer sunglasses are the perfect finishing touch.

Lorenzo Sodi

Sans suit and shirt, the neckerchief (of which there were many at Pitti), adds a welcome dose of colour to a white tee and relaxed jacket and proves that sometimes one choice detail is all it takes. A well-loved, slightly-too-long belt and canvas Vans contribute to the casual harmony.

Lorenzo Sodi

Whatever the weather, you’ll find Douglas Cordeaux, from Fox Brothers, looking immaculate in shirt and tie… and a suit made of one of Fox’s many fabrics. British elegance, embodied.

Lorenzo Sodi

Relaxed elegance is the foundation of the Brunello Cuccinelli brand. Here, the maestro himself shows us how it’s done in a double-breasted linen ensemble featuring a few personal flourishes.

Lorenzo Sodi

Designer Alessandro Pirounis of Pirounis offers a masterclass on the rule of three with a contemporary twist, subbing the usual jacket with an overshirt of his own design.

Lorenzo Sodi

A renaissance man takes Florence. True to his roots, US Marine veteran, Savile Row-trained tailor and photographer Robert Spangle blazes a sartorial trail that’s all his own.

Lorenzo Sodi

Cream trousers are an essential element of elegant Italian summer style. Designer Nicola Radano of Spacca Neapolis channels one of the greats (Marcello Mastroianni) in a dark polo of his own design, collar spread wide across his jacket’s lapel for a welcome retro lean.

Lorenzo Sodi

Proof of the power of tonal dressing, that can create an impactful outfit just by sticking to the same colour family. A chic ensemble and in some ways an elevated version of the double-denim look, every element is working hard in service to the whole.

Lorenzo Sodi

UK-based stylist Tom Stubbs has long been a proponent of blousy pleats, lengthy db jackets, and statement-making neck scarves and here, in vintage Armani, he embodies the louche, oversize look that many designers are just now catching up on.

Lorenzo Sodi

A tailor splitting his time between Berlin and Cologne, Maximilian Mogg is known for his strong-shouldered, architectural suiting. Yet in Mogg’s hands, particularly with this non-traditional colour scheme, the effect is always modern and youthful.

Lorenzo Sodi

If Max Poglia’s relaxed Hawaiian shirt and suit combo is any indication, summer has truly arrived. But it’s an excellent example of how to wearing tailoring in more casual fashion. This cream db would look perfect with shirt and tie at a wedding in August and just as chic here with slippers and a laid-back shirt.

Lorenzo Sodi

Another example of how tailoring can be laid-back and breezy for summer, from a dude who looks no stranger to enjoying the best of the warmer months. Jaunty pocket square, sandals, untucked linen shirt…go forth and emulate.

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