Instead of publishing a separate book for each state, in 2017 Fairfax made the move to a national Good Food Guide. This meant one book, one awards night and one lot of publicity. Quite a cost saving, you’d think. However, they were spinning it as a response to Australians’ greater mobility.
It was nearly 40 years since The Age Good Food Guide was launched in 1979. That was followed five years later by The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and the first Brisbane Times Good Food Guide was published in 2012.
Co-edited by Roslyn Grundy and Myffy Rigby, the national Good Food Guide 2018 (launched in late 2017) combined all the mastheads, including WAToday. They said the decision to make the Guide a national edition came about because…
“Our readers aren’t just voracious eaters, they’re voracious travellers. We’ve scoured the entire country to report on the best restaurants, whether they’re hidden in old mental asylums in rural Tasmania or sexy laneways in the heart of Melbourne.”
The editors said they hoped the broadening of scope would create larger conversations around food. There’s no doubt the national focus will make it easier for interstate travellers. Now there’s just one book to buy and pack, no matter where you’re going. But I’m betting the cost savings also had something to do with it.
In conjunction with the launch of the new Guide, and the results of the jostling for one, two or three hats, the winners of the year’s top awards were announced. Melbourne’s Attica was the Restaurant of the Year, with The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery in New Norfolk, Tasmania, named as Regional Restaurant of the Year.
Only six Australian restaurants rated three hats: Quay and Sepia in New South Wales; Attica, Minamishima and Brae in Victoria: and Urbane in Queensland. Three restaurateurs would have been wringing their hands after their establishments dropped from three hats to two: Melbourne’s Vue de Monde, Sydney’s Bridge Room and Esquire in Brisbane.