Experience No.020 in Australian Traveller’s 100 Greatest Gourmet Experiences. Gone are the days when food preparation was out of sight, out of mind. Following the success of reality TV shows like My Restaurant Rules and Hell’s Kitchen, people don’t just want to eat food, they want to see it made too.
Chef’s table dining is the latest craze for foodie fanatics. From the burning of a crème brulee to the bossy head chef, we want all the gritty details – and quite frankly, the more drama the better.
Unfortunately, temper tantrums and tears seem to be reserved for the box top. Most open kitchens are calm, clean, meal-making machines. They’re run with military precision and the only major dressing down you’ll witness is the balsamic on the salad. Even without the promise of a good chef rant, there’s something exhilarating about watching a filet of beef seared and plated up. The chef clap is positively spine tingling.
There’s no better place to sit in and watch the masters than the chef’s table at Aria Sydney. The view from the dining room is spectacular but Sydney Opera House isn’t as captivating as watching Matt Moran’s team at work. Diners sit inside a specially designed, glass-walled room backing on to the kitchen. From here you can follow every move made by chefs as they whip up your eight-course degustation.
At the Four Seasons Hotel, guests sit inside the kitchen. The chefs do their best work weaving around the stainless steel workbench doubling as the table for the night. Alla Wolf-Tasker also recommends Melbourne’s Vue de Monde for an intimate dining experience. Six guests are sequestered in an alcove of the kitchen for a show.
Where: Restaurants around the country are opening up their kitchens. Our picks:
Aria Sydney, $300pp, (02) 9252 2555, www.ariarestaurant.com
Vue de Monde Melbourne $250pp, (03) 9691 3888, www.vuedemonde.com.au
Kable Restaurant Sydney, $300pp, (02) 9250 3100, www.fourseasons.com
Did you know: Chef’s tables first started in France when chefs invited their families into the kitchen to taste test new dishes.