Wildlife on the Plate
Ben Shewry, Attica, Melbourne, Australia
No. 20 World’s 50 Best
Hidden away far out in a rather unspectacular area of the suburbs of Melbourne is the most internationally famous restaurant in Australia: Ben Shewry’s Attica. Shewry himself is not only part of the international avant-garde chef elite, but also a celebrity chef, known through TV shows and the Netflix series “Restaurant Australia” and “Chef’s Table”. It seems that on the international stage, unlike in Germany, it is possible to reconcile creative cuisine at the front end of the market and quality with television appearances.
Ben’s cooking philosophy is deeply rooted in the land, its native flora and fauna, and indigenous cuisine. A philosophy similar to New Nordic cuisine that is not derived from it and does not imitate it. Shewry was born into the world as a “hunter-gatherer”. Ben grew up in relatively modest family circumstances on the North Island of New Zealand. More precisely, he grew up next to the sea in the town of Waitara. Gathering seafood and foraging was part of the normal way of life to supplement the family’s diet. He was inspired by techniques like Maori hangi, cooking on hot stones in the hole in the ground, and the ancient preparation techniques of the Aborigines in his new home of Australia. There, the bush food of the indigenous people had been viewed disparagingly for a long time. Shewry has made this cuisine accessible to the public in a spectacular way. This also has a socio-political dimension of showing respect and understanding for the culture of the indigenous people.