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On Wednesday night, the restaurant industry’s ultimate awards night was held in Melbourne. It’s only the second time it’s ever happened outside of Europe in its 15-year history – the first was in New York last year, so to follow that up in ol’ M-Town was pretty amazing.

Hordes of local and international media, various VIPs, event partners and, of course, chefs, sashayed down the red carpet into the Royal Exhibition Building. Neil Perry from Rockpool was in charge of catering, and had set up a magnificent produce table in the centre of the room, laden with whole tunas, mussels on their rope, oysters, abalone, marron, lobsters, slabs of butter, baskets of figs, bread and more. One chef was breaking down a whole side of wagyu beef on the spot. Wine Australia, Estrella Damn and Melbourne Gin Company were in charge of the booze.

After much shoulder-rubbing and drinking, we sat down for the ceremony. Mark Durden-Smith was back as MC – he’s been hosting the awards almost since their inception, and for good reason – the UK TV presenter was undoubtedly the star of the show. So many lols. And a really good balance to the seriousness of the overall event.

Once Eleven Madison Park had been crowned the World’s Best Restaurant, the official after party kicked off inside the REB. Perry’s produce table was now a buffet – the wagyu was cooked, the oysters were shucked, the shellfish had been cracked open. Everything becomes hazy from this point… the official after party was followed by a number of unofficial after parties all around town (one which saw several top chefs dancing on bars), which were followed by the world’s worst hangovers on Thursday.

Melbourne set a new benchmark for the World’s 50 Best; both the awards night itself, and the hospitality we showed the visiting chefs. It’ll be a tough one to beat.

So, planning the culinary tour to end all tours? Check out this map from our mates at ALPACA.TRAVEL noting down exactly where all the restaurants are in order of their ranking!.

Map not showing on your device? Check it out directly here

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