How our Power List was created

Looking back over the past five decades, it's clear that the way we dine today has been defined by a great variety of Australians. In considering who's making the waves today that we'll still be feeling 50 years from now, we  looked not just to chefs, but to restaurateurs, farmers, authors, wine folk, butchers and designers. We're looking at the picture from the ground up - not at the giants whose shoulders today's pioneers stand upon, but at the people who are doing the job today, from the veterans to the new blood. They're an inspiring bunch, and they've got even more to give.

We talk to Gourmet Traveller's deputy editor Pat Nourse about how the list was created.

Gourmet Traveller: How and why were these guys selected for the list?

Pat Nourse:  Our focus for the Power List is on people making waves today that will be felt in the future, some of them working in very niche fields, others connecting different worlds. They stand on the shoulders of a great many who came before them, but that focus on the current moment is what this particular list is all about.

GT: Why do these particular individuals stand out, and how have they shaped the trade?

PN: In radically different ways. Some of this work is very hands-on - some of the farmers and producers in this list (David Blackmore, say, or Richard Gunner) are working directly with the meat that'll end up on our restaurant plates - while others are more big-picture. Bruce Pascoe's research into indigenous agriculture, for instance, is changing the way chefs and diners think about native ingredients, taking them from set-dressing to staples.

GT: As a group, what do you think the list says about the state of the Australian food and drink scene?

PN: I think it describes a hospitality scene that takes its strength from its diversity and the robustness of the conversation. Australia is now the kind of country where someone like Kate Reid of Lune in Melbourne can make a living making croissants the New York Times said might be the best in the world, where Paul Carmichael can find an audience for fine-dining Barbadian food that's more polished than anything you'll find in the Caribbean itself. The level of scholarship, of hard work, of artistry and connoisseurship and professionalism that runs from the farm to the design table to the kitchen, from wine to coffee to education and tourism, is quite remarkable for a country as small as Australia.

GT: Can you name some highlights from the list?

PN: Open it at any page and you'll find someone doing something original, someone thinking outside the box, someone with an interesting story to tell. If you're looking for inspired thinkers, Ronni Kahn, Bruce Pascoe and Joost Bakker are a pretty good place to start.

Find the full Power List published in Gourmet Traveller's 50th anniversary November issue, out now.

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