Rare restaurant honour for former Newcastle High student

Former Newcastle High student and internationally acclaimed chef Brett Graham has been awarded a rare honour with a third Michelin star.

Former Newcastle High School student Brett Graham has become the first Australian chef and owner of a restaurant to be awarded a prestigious three Michelin stars.

Graham’s London restaurant, The Ledbury, was awarded its third Michelin star earlier this month, the only new entrant to the exclusive three-star club for 2024.

Michelin Guide inspectors said Graham received the highest of gastronomic honours for his “technical mastery across dishes that deliver sublime flavours using ingredients of unsurpassable quality”, noting they had “never eaten better” at his 19-year-old Notting Hill restaurant.

Graham attended Newcastle High School from 1991 and completed his HSC in 1996.

Former Newcastle High Principal Peter McNair recalls he was also an outstanding swimmer.

“He was very low-key, Brett, but another great example of a local public comprehensive high school success story,” Mr McNair said.

Graham was enrolled at Newcastle High at the same time as the former members of the band Silverchair, which formed in 1992.

He started his career in hospitality at Newcastle seafood restaurant Scratchleys on the Wharf, where he had previously completed work experience through school. He then moved to influential Sydney restaurant Banc.

In 2000, Graham was awarded the Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year Award.

Former Newcastle High food technology teacher Heather Lamb, now retired, said using fresh produce was always a passion of Graham’s.

“He’d often bring in fresh eggs to class from Medowie to use in his practical lessons, as they were ‘better’,” Ms Lamb said.

The Ledbury was rated 10th in the world’s 50 Best Restaurants List in 2014 and is one of only six London restaurants to currently hold three Michelin stars.

Prior to closing in 2020 during the COVID pandemic, The Ledbury had held two Michelin stars since 2012. The restaurant reopened in 2022.

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