It's Official: Neil Perry Has Been Named an Icon by One of the World's Top Culinary Awards

The World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2024 honoured the top Sydney chef with its coveted Woodford Reserve Icon Award.
Maxim Boon
Published on June 07, 2024

It's no overstatement to describe Neil Perry — the restaurateur, chef and revered doyen of Australian cooking — as an icon. Now, however, it's official. On Thursday, June 6, Perry was announced as the winner of the Woodford Reserve Icon Award at a glitzy ceremony in Las Vegas for The World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2024, one of the culinary scene's most prestigious gongs. The achievement, which is voted for by an international panel of 1080 industry experts, recognises an outstanding contribution to the hospitality industry that's deemed worthy of global notice.

"Throughout my career, I've been incredibly lucky to work with some of the finest hospitality professionals in the world, doing what I love and creating memorable experiences for people to enjoy," said Perry of his accomplishment.

"I hope this award inspires everyone in our industry to keep going and to never give up."


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For more than four decades, Perry has been a guiding light of Sydney's restaurant scene. Cutting his teeth in some of the city's top kitchens, including Sails in Rose Bay, he first made his mark in 1986 when he launched the Blue Water Grill in Bondi. However, it was his next major venture — and arguably his most famous — that would catapult him to global stardom.

Opened in 1989, Rockpool quickly asserted itself as not only one of Sydney's top fine-diners, but also one of the nation's — and in 2002, it was ranked the fourth best place to eat on the planet by The World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards. Today it has grown to be a cherished brand, with sister venues in Perth and Melbourne. Despite Perry stepping down as the group's Culinary Director in 2020, it continues his storied legacy, ranking as the eighth best steak restaurant in the world in May 2024.

Kitti Gould

One of Perry's defining traits is his ability to project his love and understanding of food through many cultural lenses. From Asian to Italian and even burgers and aeroplane food, Perry's menus are a fusion of top-tier produce and craftsmanship with an accessible attitude and a belief that cooking doesn't need to be gastronomically pretentious to be exceptional.

Take, for example, his most recent venture Margaret, a deeply personal "neighbourhood restaurant" named for Perry's deceased mother. Despite its humble billing, the judging panel noted that at Margaret, diners experience "a veteran bringing together his love of super-fresh seafood and Asian flavours to outstanding effect". It also currently ranked as the third best steak restaurant in the world.

Since opening Margaret in 2021, Perry has extended his presence on Double Bay's Guilfoyle Avenue to the Baker Bleu bakery next door, and he has two more venues preparing to open in the area in late August: Asian-inspired diner Song Bird and cocktail bar Bobby's.

Petrina Tinslay

The only other Australian to be recognised by this year's The 50 Best Restaurants Awards was Josh Niland, whose revolutionary low-to-no waste seafood diner Saint Peter placed 98th on the 100-venue longlist.

Perry is one of Australia's most-decorated chefs, having earned more Good Food Chef's Hats (Australia's answer to Michelin stars) than any other individual in the country, as well as numerous other accolades. However, this latest laurel makes the point most definitively: if you're someone with even a glancing interest in eating well, you need to experience a dish crafted by Perry at least once in your life.

Petrina Tinslay

For the full rundown of The World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2024, head to the list's website.

Top image: Petrina Tinslay.

Published on June 07, 2024 by Maxim Boon
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