Another round of culinary awards has dropped, with Canberra restaurants picking up a slew of awards.
The Australian Good Food and Travel Guide (AGFG) has been offering listings and ratings of restaurants, accommodation, and travel destinations since 1977 and handing out awards since 1982. The guide was initially touted as an Australian counterpart to the European Michelin guide with extensive, nationwide listings that would encourage more people to travel locally.
The guide runs yearly awards and also has a number of regional people’s choice award categories. AGFG awards allocate a chef’s hat for consistently outstanding cuisine, alongside a score from 12 to 19 to indicate whether it is a ‘good restaurant in its category’ (12-14), or ‘internationally acclaimed’ (17-19). No restaurant has ever achieved the full 20 points.
There are some criteria listed on the AGFG website, but the overall judging process is a secretive process with anonymity of the judges preferred for ‘authentic’ experiences.
Twenty-two Canberra restaurants were awarded hats in the AGFG awards on Tuesday 17 January with the highest rating going to Pilot, which received 15 points. Newcomers Mu and Onzieme both received 12 points which is a continued vote of confidence for these recently opened restaurants.
Griffith restaurant Aubergine was listed as a ‘notable closure’ in the guide after shutting their doors in 2022. Aubergine had previously been a highly awarded establishment.
The AGFG hats are notably awarded just for outstanding food, and other factors such as location, service and ambience aren’t taken into consideration. There is a separate rating for the whole package, which is displayed as a fork and spoon symbol on the AGFG website, which also encourages customer reviews and feedback.
Despite having a very similar name and also using a chefs’ hat-based system, the AGFG awards are not the same as the Good Food Guide Awards, which are awarded and published by various state-based newspapers. These awards were released in late 2022.
This may occasionally lead to some confusion, but both are an indication of quality and there is generally a good deal of overlap between the two lists.
The restaurants who have received hats, stars, hearts or any other recent award will surely be pleased at the recognition of a job well done in what can often be a brutal and thankless industry. While this particular award is aimed at the achievement of chefs, all restaurants are team endeavours and these awards are also a recognition of wait staff, sommeliers, kitchen hands and managers who are an integral part of those teams.
The last few years have been especially difficult for hospitality businesses and the added ‘buzz’ of awards season can go a long way to reinvigorating interest and reaching a new customer base.
AGFG also hands out reader’s choice awards which are split into multiple categories such as ‘Best Modern Australian’ and ‘Best Vietnamese’. The list of 2023 reader’s choice awards is yet to be released, so head to the website and support your favourites!
The full list of Australian Good Food and Travel Guide awardees is available here.
You can also vote for your favourite restaurants in a number of categories and leave reviews on the website.