When chef Dan Hunter and partner Julianne Bagnato opened Brae in the small Victorian town of Birregurra in 2013, everyone could tell that it was something special. And the regional fine diner just keeps getting better, pulling off a kind of iterative alchemy that somehow makes it both more relevant and more itself with each passing year. Now, on the eve of its 10th birthday, Brae stands as one of Australia’s few genuinely world-renowned restaurants. So to celebrate hitting the double digits, it’s throwing a star-studded garden party on December 3.
“We’ve pulled together friends and colleagues who’ve contributed to our success – whether as a critical staff member, a great guest or someone to look to and take inspiration from,” said chef and co-owner Dan Hunter in a statement.
“We can’t think of a better list of friends to throw us a birthday party, and we can’t wait to celebrate with them and those guests who join us on the day.”
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Those friends are a very talented bunch, and together with Hunter, they’re all coming together and collaborating on a picnic-style menu for the day. Sydney chefs making the trip over include Dan Puskas of Sixpenny, Lankan Filling Station’s O Tama Carey, Bar Copains’ Morgan McGlone, and Mat Lindsay of Ester, Poly and AP Bread. Australia’s croissant queen, Lune’s Kate Reid, is also pitching in. Luke Burgess, of Hobart’s much-missed Garagistes, will be on hand too.
Brae’s illustrious network of alumni is one of its farthest-reaching legacies. In the 10 years since this little cottage in the Otway Colac Shire became one of the country’s – and even the world’s – eminent destination diners, many of the chefs that matriculated in the school of Dan Hunter’s cooking have since gone on to make big impressions in their own right. Damien Neylon, Brae’s former head chef and executive chef at the Hotel Windsor Group; Trisha Greentree, head chef of Sydney institution Fratelli Paradiso; and Tom Edwards of Brunswick’s just-opened Iris Bakery are all returning to their alma mater for this summer shindig.
A who’s who of Victorian wine is also coming together to provide vino on the day. Here’s the roll call: Sierra Reed, Tamara Irish, William Downie, Patrick Sullivan, Joshua Cooper, James Thomas and Owen Latta will all be there on the day with drops from their respective vineyards. To round it all out, Triple R’s Vaughan Quinn will be spinning decks, with local brewers Prickly Moses and Melbourne coffee legends St Ali providing beverages. For the first time since opening, Brae will also be hosting guided tours of its pioneering farm. Brae’s head gardener and horticulturalist Jo Lawson will guide guests through an inside look at one of Australia’s most audacious and influential regenerative agriculture projects.
It's difficult to overstate the level of star power that’s coming together for this birthday party, and it’s hard to think of a restaurant more deserving of it.
Tickets to Brae’s 10th Birthday Garden Party will be released on Wednesday October 4, via the Brae mailing list.