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Celebrated chef Neil Perry stood next to a kitchen bench wearing a terracotta apron with the world Margaret on the front
Photograph: Supplied/Liz Keene

Sydney's Neil Perry has just been awarded pretty much the biggest global hats-off a chef can receive

Yes, chef! Neil Perry has won the Icon Award at the World's 50 Best Restaurants ceremony

Avril Treasure
Written by
Avril Treasure

Neil Perry, one of Sydney’s finest chefs, has received the 2024 Icon Award at the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards, held in Las Vegas last night (Thursday, June 6, 2024). The former Rockpool chef and current owner of Double Bay’s Margaret restaurant received the award for being “an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the hospitality industry worthy of global recognition.”

The 66-year-old is the first Aussie chef to ever receive the esteemed Icon Award, which is decided by a voting academy made up of more than 1,000 independent global restaurant industry experts. Other chefs who have received the award include Andoni Luis Aduriz (considered one of the most influential chefs of our time) and Wawira Njiru (a Kenyan philanthropist).

Awards presenter Olivia Freijo Lloyd said: “Perry is arguably the most revered chef in his home nation, and a friend and mentor to many across the globe.”

Off the back of this win, Perry said: “Receiving the Icon Award in recognition of my 40-year career as a chef and restaurateur is an incredible honour.”

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Throughout Perry’s four-decade-long career – which has seen him at the helm of Sydney’s best restaurants including Rockpool, Spice Temple and Eleven Bridge – the chef has become renowned for his steadfast commitment to using local, premium produce. He has mentored some of the city’s most talented chefs, including Kylie Kwong, Phil Wood, Mike McEnearney and Ross Lusted, and developed long-lasting relationships with farmers and growers. Outside of the kitchen, Perry is a Starlight Luminary, having fundraised for the Starlight Children’s Foundation for nearly 30 years, as well as being a champion for food waste through his work with OzHarvest.

“What I’ve always tried to do is make sure that when young people come to work for us, they don’t just end up being better at their craft – better cooks, restaurateurs or sommeliers – but end up being better people. If we do that, then I really think we’ve done our job,” Perry added.

This news comes off the back of Saint Peter – Josh and Julie Niland’s trailblazing seafood diner – making it onto the World’s 50 Best longlist for 2024, coming in at 98th place in May.

Barcelona fine-diner Disfrutar, which serves up an experimental seafood-leaning tasting menu, was awarded the best restaurant in the world. In second place was Spanish restaurant Asador Etxebarri, located in a mountainous Basque village. No Australian restaurant made it onto the World’s 50 Best list in 2024.

But with this news – and also Saint Peter’s – we think we’re winners. Plus, with restaurants as good as these right here in Sydney, who needs Las Vegas, anyway?

The biggest congratulations to Neil Perry – we'll cheers to you tonight!

You can check out the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024 here.

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