Lonely Planet Writer

Melbourne restaurant named Australia's best - it's owner is a New Zealand chef!

A New Zealand-born owner and chef has had his Melbourne restaurant named the best in Australia.

Chef's Andrew McConnell (Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, Supernormal) and Ben Shewry (Atticus) .
Chefs Andrew McConnell (Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, Supernormal) and Ben Shewry (Atticus) . Image by Tourism Victoria / CC BY 2.0

Ben Shewry grew up in the rural area of the North Taranki district before relocating to Australia. Only last year, he became the owner of the Attica Restaurant. Stuff.co.nz reports that his food has proved to be a massive success, as within 12 months of going solo, his restaurant has come first in the Top 100 Restaurants in Australia. The award is made after voting takes place with industry peers, such as chefs and hospitality workers.

Although he is a dab hand with Kiwi produce such as kumara and proper honey, the winner was cited by the awards directors for using indigenous Australian ingredients such as Kangaroo. They also lauded his passion for growing restaurant produce in gardens beside his restaurant. Ironically, the winner previously revealed that he almost left the food industry before he changed his approach from focusing totally on becoming a success story. This has paid almost instant dividends as Attica has got stronger and stronger with a reputation for unique flavours and a passion for the food it serves up.