Jill Dupleix grew up as the daughter of a sheep farmer and took an unusual route to becoming a food writer – it involved a phone book, a bike ride and a stint in the world of advertising. And meeting Terry Durack: “We hated each other on sight.” They not only married each other, they ended up reviewing restaurants together.
Since those early days, she's written 16 cookbooks, been the editor of the Good Food Guide, food curator of TEDx and currently she's the co-director of the Australian Financial Review's program for Australia's Top Restaurants with Terry. It involves overseeing the Australia's Top 100 Restaurants list and ceremony and writing about the remarkable venues that get highlighted by these chef-voted awards. (There's one restaurant that lives up to the obsession with hyperlocal produce by making its plates from its actual surrounds.) She talks about how the Australia's Top 100 Restaurants list is put together and what makes the highest-ranked establishments so special – from the neighbourhood charms of Tipo 00 to the special-occasion appeal of Brae, where even the temperature of the dishes will make an impression on you.
Jill also covers the unusual espionage methods she resorted to while reviewing restaurants in the early 1980s (long before the iPhone – or the luxurious ability to simply take a photo of the menu or the dishes you're eating – existed) and what she thinks the future of restaurant reviewing will look like.She also talks about the time one of her recipes inspired a mob to turn up at the ABC studios and the 17 Australian dishes you must try before you die – and what she would add to that life-changing list.