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How do the stars compare?


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Hey! I was reading an article on Australian restaurants & food recently as well as how the Michelin Guide is now expanding around the world. It got me thinking about how do our restaurants compare to international restaurants. Is a 3 star restaurant in Australia the same standard as a 3 star restaurant in Europe? Or is it more like a 2 or 1 star restaurant. What are the glaring differences that make them a lesser or better restaurant?

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Anthony Bourdain reckons that we've got restaurants and chefs that can match it with the best in the world and I like to think that he's right.

Unless Michelin do an Australian guide, we could probably only go by anecdotes. Several years ago when Donovan Cooke was running Ondine, it got 3 chefs hats. Gordon Ramsay (who knew him from their Marco Pierre White days) had dinner there and said it was about 2 Michelin star standard.

Tetsuya's in Sydney (3 chefs hats) was at one stage rated the 3rd best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine, and Rockpool was in the top 50. An acquaintance of mine showed one of the Restaurant Magazine reviewers around Melbourne, and the reviewer raved about Vue de Monde saying that it was as good as anywhere in Europe or the United States.

It would be interesting if Michelin do an Australian guide as the arguments over who gets or didn't get stars would be an entertaining way to kill a bit of time.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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The new Michelin Guide for Hong Kong is quite laughable. Check out that thread over in the China Dining forum of eG.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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I don't think we can draw any sensible direct correlation, simply because the variation within the class itself is so large.

We all know the stories about how Paul Bocuse jumped the shark / nuked the fridge decades ago. Yet my dinner at Taillevent (then three-starred) was easily (objectively!) surpassed by meals at various other two-star restaurants. Same goes in Australia, though I think for sheer excitement on the palate, Rockpool is streets ahead of other three-hatters, Tetsuya's included, except that Rockpool only has two hats. Our three-starred French places, such as Bilsons and Guillaume, pleasant as they are, in my view cannot hold a candle to the cooking of two-starred chefs such as Jean-Francois Piege and Eric Briffard.

Service and ambience are assessed on completely different levels. Michelin has a typical standard which it deviates from in choice cases (e.g. L'Astrance). I found even the palaces had much warmer, more informal service than I expected, though of course, it was always correct and occasionally theatrical. If Michelin came to Australia, they would need to assess us on our model, simply because service of the classic French mould is almost nowhere to be found - this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Julian's Eating - Tales of Food and Drink
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  • 3 weeks later...
Anthony Bourdain reckons that we've got restaurants and chefs that can match it with the best in the world and I like to think that he's right. 

Unless Michelin do an Australian guide, we could probably only go by anecdotes.  Several years ago when Donovan Cooke was running Ondine, it got 3 chefs hats.  Gordon Ramsay (who knew him from their Marco Pierre White days) had dinner there and said it was about 2 Michelin star standard.

Tetsuya's in Sydney (3 chefs hats) was at one stage rated the 3rd best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine, and Rockpool was in the top 50.  An acquaintance of mine showed one of the Restaurant Magazine reviewers around Melbourne, and the reviewer raved about Vue de Monde saying that it was as good as anywhere in Europe or the United States.

It would be interesting if Michelin do an Australian guide as the arguments over who gets or didn't get stars would be an entertaining way to kill a bit of time.

Donovan Cooke (though not Australian) is clearly the best chef to of cooked in Australia. I ate at Miettas when he cooked there, Est Est Est and Ondine and his food was always cooked with precision, intellect and care. He has a very feminine way of cooking! He is now in Hong Kong at the Happy Valley Racecource ( for 5 or so yrs) we miss him here!

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Donovan Cooke (though not Australian) is clearly the best chef to of cooked in Australia.

That's a very big call.

I ate at Miettas when he cooked there, Est Est Est and Ondine and his food was always cooked with precision, intellect and care. He has a very feminine way of cooking! He is now in Hong Kong at the Happy Valley Racecource ( for 5 or so yrs) we miss him here!

The HKJC have released a cookbook with Cooke's recipes. It's called "Food Art" and you should be able to get it from the HKJC.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Donovan Cooke (though not Australian) is clearly the best chef to of cooked in Australia.

That's a very big call.

I ate at Miettas when he cooked there, Est Est Est and Ondine and his food was always cooked with precision, intellect and care. He has a very feminine way of cooking! He is now in Hong Kong at the Happy Valley Racecource ( for 5 or so yrs) we miss him here!

The HKJC have released a cookbook with Cooke's recipes. It's called "Food Art" and you should be able to get it from the HKJC.

It is a big call, but thats my opinion.

We are worse off for not having him here!

He does have family in Melbourne so hopefully one day he may return and open a place!

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It is a big call, but thats my opinion.

We are worse off for not having him here!

He does have family in Melbourne so hopefully one day he may return and open a place!

Fair enough.

I've enjoyed Donovan Cooke's food as well, but I think that chefs like Andrew McConnell, Justin North, Shannon Bennett, Tetsuya Wakuda, etc. could give Cooke a very good run for his money.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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