Chef finalists prepare for battle

By Specialised Events, 10 May, 2017

Talented chefs from around Australia will arrive in Melbourne for the prestigious Australian Professional Chef of the Year contest, to be held at Foodservice Australia trade show 28-30 May.

Competition Director Gary Farrell says more than 200 chefs applied for the honour of competing, but just 24 were chosen, plus two ‘wild card’ entrants.

“We received an unprecedented number of entries this year, which demonstrates how this title has become one of the most sought-after in the Australian culinary landscape,” says Farrell. “And with a share of $10,000 cash up for grabs, it is also one of Australia’s richest competitions.”

This year the majority of finalists are local chefs from Melbourne, however some are travelling from Sydney, regional NSW and Victoria, as well as Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania.

These finalists will meet for a live cook-off at the centre of Foodservice Australia at the Royal Exhibition Building, ready to cook their best dishes in one hour using featured ingredients.

The winner of each heat goes on to compete in a semi-final, which also includes one of two wild card entrants – Chef of the Year 2016 Matt Weller, and ‘Mr Wagyu’ Chris Wade from Steak Ministry. The top two chefs from each semi will go on to compete in the Grand Final on Tuesday 30 May.

Farrell adds that selecting the final 24 chefs from such a large field of talent was very challenging. “This is a live event with spectators watching from stadium-style seating, the pressure will really be on,” he says. “But these chefs are all up for it. I can’t wait to see what they will produce.”

Executive Chef John McFadden leads a small team of experienced judges – Le Cordon Bleu’s Karen Doyle, Glenn Flood from Australian Leisure & Hospitality Group (ALH) and Sam Burke from Meat & Livestock Australia.

The competition is proudly supported by Gold Sponsors Chobani, MLA’s Rare Medium, and Unox Australia. Silver sponsors Robot Coupe and Sous Vide Australia are also supplying equipment, University Meat is providing quality beef and lamb, Kangan Institute is the official training partner, Dominique Portet is supplying wine and Alsco is providing uniforms for the competitors and judges.

Foodservice Australia is the only dedicated tradeshow for the restaurant and catering industry. There will be over 250 exhibitors and more exciting competitions, plus free workshops and seminars. Entry is free if you work in the hospitality industry and pre-register online. General public are not admitted.

Foodservice Australia 2017

Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton, Melbourne

Open 10am-5pm for three days only:

Sunday 28 May, Monday 29 May, Tuesday 30 May.

The Judges:

John McFadden                      Executive Chef, Parkroyal Darling Harbour

Karen Doyle                            Head Teacher, Le Cordon Bleu Sydney

Sam Burke                              Corporate Chef, Meat & Livestock Australia

Glenn Flood                            Food Support Manager, ALH

Wild card entrants:

Chris Wade                             Chef owner, Steak Ministry, Glen Waverley (Vic)

Matt Weller                              Chef de Cuisine, 64 Sutton, Bayleaf Catering,
North Melbourne (Vic)

The Finalists:

Leslie Austen                           Head Chef, The Shamrock Hotel, Numurkah (Vic)

Andrew Ballard                       Chef de Cuisine, Simmer Culinary, Melbourne (Vic)

Kim Bamborough                    Head Chef, Coutts Commercial Tavern, Ayr (Qld)

Simon Bold                             Head Chef, Drift Café & Restaurant, Devonport (Tas)

Leslie Chan                             Consultant Chef, Comcater, Melbourne (Vic)

Michael Cole                           Chef, Georgie Bass, Flinders (Vic)

Chloe Donaldson                    Senior Chef de Partie, Stokehouse, St Kilda (Vic)

Craig Dowling                                     Chef de Cuisine, RACV Club, Melbourne (Vic)

Justin Garrison                        Head Chef, The Pantry, Brighton (Vic)

Daniel Giraldo                         Head Chef, Maha, Melbourne (Vic)

Michael Greenlaw                   Executive Chef, The Westin Melbourne (Vic)

Rosie Griffiths                         Executive Chef, Margaret River Hospitality Group (WA)

Benjamin Hildred                    Sous Chef, Coda, Melbourne (Vic)

Tyrone Hunt                            Head Chef, The Atrium, Cairns (Qld)

Thomas Jack                          Head Chef, Coast Restaurant & Bar, Hervey Bay (Qld)

Matthew Lee                           Head Chef, Cutty Sark Bar & Restaurant, Brisbane (Qld)

Naomi Lowry                          Head Chef, Popolo, Rushcutters Bay (NSW)

Victoria May                            Sous Chef, Winey Cow, Frankston (Vic)

Nathan Mitchell                       Chef owner, Woodhouse Café, Geelong (Vic)

Rebecca Murphy                    Head Chef, The Avoca Hotel, Avoca (Vic)

Brian Perera                            Head Chef, The Commercial Hotel, Dubbo (NSW)

Nicola Roberti                         Head Chef, Caffe e Cuccina, South Yarra (Vic)

Matteo Toffano                       Chef de Cuisine, Grossi Florentino, Melbourne (Vic)

Kannanagara Wijekoon​          Sous Chef, Hobarts by Leslie Taylor, New Lambton (NSW)

For more information on the show, exhibitors, special events and registration visit or call Specialised Events on 03 9999 5460.

Source: Specialised Events