What are the top accolades for Australian restaurants?


To win a restaurant award in Australia, first it pays to understand what each team of judges will be looking for. As an example, Chefs Hat judges examine food quality alone on a Michelin-like rating system, whereas their Awards for Excellence counterparts examine the chefs themselves.


Listen to many top restaurateurs and they'll mostly give you the same answer about winning industry awards – it's about passion and love rather than shiny awards.

This might be true, but that doesn't mean winning prominent awards doesn't do anything positive for their careers and restaurants. As the foodie community becomes more attuned to awards, reviews and performances, a restaurant with a string of accolades will often do much better than their counterparts down the road.

So, if you're thinking about hospitality management as a career, what are the types of awards you need to know about? Read on to find out!

AGFG Chef Hats – how to earn one

As the supreme accolade that individual restaurants in Australia can receive, Chef Hats mean a lot to both chefs and their customers. Awarded by the Australian Good Food & Travel Guide (AGFG), Chef Hats are earned through the quality of the food alone, rather than the setting, decor and service.

AGFG inspectors dine anonymously and mark the dishes on six key attributes out of 20 hats – ingredients, taste, presentation, technique, value and consistency. These categories are ambiguous, but as it's based on the 'Michelin' model of rating, the Chef Hat's are awarded holistically, not around particular factors.

A total of 112 NSW restaurants have received Chef Hats in 2017. This includes Sepia (19), The Bridge Room (18), Momofuku Seiobo (18) and Quay (18). In Sydney, there were seven restaurants added to the list for the first time including Eleven Bridge (17), Restaurant Hubert (14) and Cirrus Dining (14).

Awards for Excellence – individual recognition

Another avenue for recognition comes in the form of the Awards for Excellence, run by Savour Australia. For almost two decades, chefs have nominated themselves to be judged by a panel of trained professionals across each state and territory. There are countless categories available, allowing restaurateurs to showcase their talents in many a field.

As well as the opportunity to win a national award, there is the chance for extra media attention during the evaluation period. A judging report which benchmarks your restaurant against your counterparts will also be available.

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Some of the 2016 winners in NSW included China Doll (Asian restaurant), Alpha Restaurant (Greek restaurant) and Popolo Sydney (Italian restaurant).

Do you want to develop the innovation, creativity and passion to get your future restaurant on these award lists? If so, refine your skills in a hospitality course at Kenvale College. For more information about how to get started, reach out to us today.

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I just wanted to express thanks and congratulations to all at Kenvale for the magnificent lunch provided on Thursday.

I have been to many hatted restaurants this year and can honestly say that they would have struggled to produce such fantastic dishes.

The lunch was a credit to your students and your staff.  It would be a privilege to enjoy another visit next year.

Best wishes to your graduating students for success in their career and to your staff to continue to guide students to reach such a high standard.

- Anonymous public guest at Kenvale Restaurant 2015

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