Meet the Head Chefs for Restaurant Australia's Invite the World to Dinner »

Neil Perry AM, Peter Gilmore and Ben Shewry cook in Tasmania »

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Chef Ben Shewry, Attica

Chef Ben Shewry, Attica

Dish by Ben Shewry, Attica
Snow Egg dish by Peter Gilmore of Quay
Chef Peter Gilmore
Chef Neil Perry


These three chefs have been tasked with creating Australia's finest three course menu for the gala event, 'Invite the World to Dinner' to be held at MONA in Tasmania in November.

Peter, Neil and Ben are three of the country's most awarded chefs,  sharing a passion for Australian food and wine.


Peter Gilmore

Peter Gilmore is the Executive Chef of Quay restaurant in Sydney.

Since 2001, Peter’s creative and original cuisine has seen the restaurant receive an unprecedented number of Australian and international awards, and establish itself at the forefront of Australia’s food scene.

Peter describes his cuisine as "food inspired by nature". A passionate gardener, Peter was one of the first chefs in Australia to truly embrace the vegetable garden and its diversity. Sourcing rare plants and heirloom vegetable seeds, he forges unique relationships with small farmers to grow bespoke produce exclusively for Quay.

He also collaborates with fisherman who hand dive and line catch seafood in pristine Australian waters, and farmers who rear rare breed animals with superior flavour and texture for the table.

Peter plans his menus from the ground up a season ahead; a way of working which has strengthened his appreciation of the seasons and the natural world, and is directly reflected in his cuisine.

Peter plays with ideas about food, its provenance and its natural environment. A recent dish was inspired by the beauty of the coral reef in Australia's north. In another, he evokes the environment of a hand-caught flathead, pairing it with wild oysters, periwinkles, wakame seaweed and abalone that the fish might feed upon in its cold Southern ocean home.

Peter places great emphasis on texture in his cuisine, so a rare breed pig cheek is first slowly braised for 12 hours, then lightly smoked, and teamed with hand-dived sea scallops, shaved Tasmanian shiitake mushrooms and crisp Jerusalem artichoke skin to create a perfect interplay of just four ingredients. 

Quay has been awarded Three Chefs Hats for 10 consecutive years and named Restaurant of the Year four times in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. It has three stars and has been awarded Restaurant of the Year twice in the Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. Quay is also the only Australian restaurant to currently appear on the fabled San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

In 2012, Quay was named Best Restaurant in Australasia on the World’s 50 Best list for the third year in a row and ranked 29th. At The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2012 Awards, Peter Gilmore was named “Chef of the Year”, a celebration of his 10 years at Quay.

Peter says:

At Quay, what we try to do is to produce original, beautifully crafted food with a big emphasis on layers of texture and flavours to create an overall sense of balance. Food that tastes beautiful, that takes you on a journey of different sensations, that makes you think about where it came from.

This dinner is saying to the world here is Australian cuisine, we have amazing produce, diverse cultural influences and through our cooking we bring a certain spirit of openness, adventure and freedom.

Our individual takes on Australian food will give a nice picture of the diversity of Australian cuisine, but we also have common links:we will all be celebrating our amazing produce,as well as the multiculturalism that shaped us growing up in Australia.

We have amazing produce, amazing cultural influences, and in our cooking we are bringing it together in the spirit of the Australian people, with a certain openness, adventure and freedom. . “We have been talking for years about whether we have an Australian cuisine, and I just want to get over that and say ‘We do, and this is it’. Having this dinner is saying ‘Australian cuisine has arrived’.


Neil Perry AM

Neil Perry AM is one of Australia’s leading and most influential chefs. He has managed several quality restaurants in Sydney and today concentrates on his seven restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, and Rockpool Consulting.

In 1989, Neil set out with the intention to establish one of Australia’s finest restaurants, and opened Rockpool in Sydney with his business partner and cousin Trish Richards. After six months it was voted Sydney’s best new restaurant in the Good Food Guide and over the years has gone on to win a long list of awards, both in Australia and overseas.

Rockpool Bar & Grill in Melbourne followed in October 2006, with Spice Temple and Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney both lifting off in early 2009. October 2010 saw the opening of Spice Temple Melbourne Melbourne, with Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth opening in January 2011 and Rosetta Ristorante in Melbourne in October 2013.

Neil’s passion and the importance he places on quality produce are evident in all his dishes and the business projects he undertakes. The numerous awards and accolades won by the restaurants that make up the Rockpool Restaurant Group are a testament to this. Neil’s determined passion for Australia, food and wine, quality, travel and recipe books have driven him to where he is today.

The Rockpool Group of restaurants are bound by a commitment to the finest sustainable produce, world-class service, a progressive approach to food and creating memorable experiences for their guests. Neil is proud to be the founder of Australia’s most awarded restaurant group with 15 Good Food Guide Chefs Hats across seven dining experiences, and all are in Australian Gourmet Traveller’s Top 50 Restaurants list.

Neil is also the head culinary consultant to Qantas Airways, the author of eight cookbooks, and regular television presenter.

Neil says:

"With outstanding produce and innovative ideas, our food and restaurants are truly world-class. What makes us unique here in Australia are the people, our produce and sense of place, and this will all come together on the night,” agreed Neil Perry AM, one of Australia’s leading and most influential chefs, and co-owner of seven award-winning restaurants throughout Australia.

“This dinner is tremendously important because it is the culmination of bringing down a large group of international food and wine opinion-makers who will be discovering different parts of Australia. This is the opportunity to put the icing on the cake; for Peter, Ben and I to create a beautiful dinner with amazing Australian produce combined with the creativity and incredible visuals that MONA brings."

“I am humbled and excited about being selected to cook and I’m delighted to work with two guys I deeply respect.

“The most important message is the fact that our food is world-class and exciting, with amazing produce and innovative ideas. What we have going for us in Australia, and what makes us unique, are the people, produce and sense of place. Hopefully that all comes together on the night.”


Ben Shewry

Ben Shewry is the founder and head chef of the world famous Attica Restaurant in Melbourne. He believes that food can have a deeper meaning than just another item to consume; it can be evocative, emotional and thought provoking, appealing to all of the senses. Of course the key to all this is that it tastes of the purity of its ingredients and is something delicious to eat.

Attica is the highest ranking Australian Restaurant on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants List, ranking at number 32 in 2014.

Living in the coastal town of Torquay, Ben draws his inspiration from Australia’s natural environment, especially the rivers, ocean and native bushlands. The San Pellegrino judges said of Attica: “few can match the fundamental connection with nature evident at Attica. The menu at the Melbourne restaurant is studded with earthy flavours and foraged ingredients, while the dining experience is simultaneously sophisticated and deeply grounded”.

Attica has a global reputation for interesting and intricate fine dining, and is recognised with a myriad of awards including Fairfax Media’s ‘Restaurant of the Year’, ‘3 Chefs Hats’ and ‘Chef of the Year’ in the Age Good Food Guide, and the prestigious Best Restaurant in Australasia in the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards of 2014.

Ben says:

“Hopefully this dinner opens their minds to what Australia can mean in terms of its food and wine offering. That our isolation from the rest of the world means that we cook in our own individual, expressive ways and the opportunity it presents is to show that we are not inhibited by centuries-old tradition and that this can be a strength.”

"We want to send the message that ‘the quality of food in Australia is exceptionally high and that it is one of the most unique destinations for dining in the world’. . “I'm really proud to represent Australia and have that responsibility. I'm so proud of our industry here - to me, it’s one of the most supportive and kindest that exists, and to be cooking with Peter and Neil, my close friends, is a dream come true.

“I am most excited about the creative part of this event, submerging my mind in the creative process, getting my hands dirty down in Tasmania and working out something amazing to do for this special occasion.”


Read our reviews of books by Ben Shewry and Neil Perry, and information on all three restaurants below.

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July 29th, 2014
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