MAITLAND native Josh Niland has become the first Australian to win a coveted James Beard award after he took out top honours for his debut cookbook.
The Whole Fish Cook Book earned the former Maitland Grossmann student honours in the Restaurant and Professional category and the overall Book of the Year prize.
The US awards covering chefs, restaurateurs, authors, journalists and broadcasters are one of the best known honours in American food and have global clout. Until Niland's win, no Australian had taken out the James Beard Book of the Year award.
Niland's Sydney restaurants have broken new ground in how they work with seafood at Fish Butchery, which launched in 2018.
His books emphasise ethical and sustainable use of seafood, including using offal and other less traditional elements. "I am overwhelmed," Niland said.
"Huge thank you to Hardie Grant and the team for their incredible support and for believing in what we do. Without that belief, a book like this may never have been written.
"This award will hopefully bring our message to a wider audience."
Niland's book has claimed a range of honours including the Australian Book Industry Awards' illustrated book of the year and a National Portrait Gallery prize for Rob Palmer, whose photographs are featured in its pages.