Kylie Kwong's top restaurant picks for 2013

Author: Maya Kerthyasa

Kylie Kwong had a lot to say when it came down to her top restaurant picks for 2013. Here's why Noma, Restaurant DOM, Mugartiz and Fäviken are at the top of her list.

Noma, Copenhagen: René Redzepi's cooking philosophy based around native ingredients to express a certain time and place, to reflect the local traditional cuisine, social, historical, environmental and political landscape completely resonates with me. Now at Billy Kwong my aim is to offer my diners a very deep, overall experience that gives one a sense and taste of this country's greater ecosystem, of this country's traditional cultural heritage - an experience that tells a story.

I am desperate to dine at Noma so I can not only experience Redzepi's limitless imagination and gastronomic delights, but also so I can observe and experience Redzepi's forward-thinking philosophy in action - to taste truly Nordic cuisine. I am also really inspired by Redzepi's emphasis and curiosity for biocultural diversity - such knowledge of the food we source, cook and eat truly deepens and enhances the overall cooking and eating experience.

Restaurant DOM, São Paulo: Upon meeting Alex Atala in 2012 at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape I was completely hooked. I loved listening to him speak so respectfully about his native Amazonas, about his passion for a sustainable world and, of course, for his knowledge on the subject of entomology. It was because of him that I returned completely obsessed and determined to source edible insects for my Billy Kwong menu.

Mugaritz, San Sebastián: I was very taken with the words in the introduction to Andoni Luis Aduriz's cookbook: "The 'grass backdrop' began to lose its status as a context and turn into 'a field of herbs' the day we decided to go out there and take a closer look at the plants growing in the field opposite us… We realised that even what is closest to us can seem exotic and mysterious, merely on account of our ignorance."

This experience is the exact experience I had when I first discovered Australian native bush foods. Suddenly, my office desk and bedside table are filled with books on native plants and fruits, the traditional Aboriginal owners of this land and their culture and edible insects. Never before has my career and life as a cook and restaurateur been and felt so rich. So I would love to experience Mugaritz - sit underneath this special oak tree.

Fäviken, Järpen, Sweden: I just love Magnus Nilsson's dish descriptions: "monkfish grilled slowly over burning birch coals, a leaf of kale steamed so briefly that it is dying on the plate". Such passion, such wit, such poetry, such artistry and total eccentricity. Love the fact that every single component of each of his dishes is very well thought through, has an absolute time and a place and a reason for being (very Zen-like). No one thing or moment is wasted. Respect.

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