Adam Rees 2023 Winner
For a long time, Adam Rees has been called one of the country’s most talented young chefs. In fact, he won our Young Chef award, at the age of just 24, in 2019. Now still not 30, the work he’s doing at Madalena’s is such that it warrants dropping the qualifier, and naming him our Chef of the Year. For Rees, this was a year where his maturity told. There was the decision to bring in supporting talent in the form of chef Oscar Holgado, speaking to an awareness of what his South Fremantle restaurant needed to thrive. There was the renovation of the upstairs space into a sun-dappled bar. And then there’s the menu that remains a model for seafood restaurants anywhere. It’s no accident that Madalena’s is high on the list of any clued-in tourist, but Rees’s restaurant is just as loved by locals, drawn by his delicate touch and direct interpretations of the ocean’s bounty. This award recognises that, but moreso it recognises his development into a chef-restaurateur still exploring his talent.