Elite chefs to compete in Melbourne at Foodservice Show

By Specialised Events, 11 April, 2017

Melbourne is enjoying a stellar culinary year – hot on the heels of last week’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants extravaganza, two world-class chef competitions are being held next month at Foodservice Australia, also at the majestic Royal Exhibition Building.

Over three days from 28-30 May Australia’s most talented professional chefs will congregate at Foodservice Australia to compete in the Chef of the Year and the Bocuse d’Or Australian Selection. In addition the industry will come together to celebrate and promote Bocuse d’Or Australia at a gala dinner ‘The Road to Lyon’ hosted by Atlantic Group on Monday 29 May.

“These competitions are distinctly different, however they have one crucial thing in common,” explains Event Director Tim Collett. “They encourage all our chefs to strive for excellence and share their passion for world-class cuisine.”

Competition Director Gary Farrell says the Chef of the Year has grown over the last decade to become one of Australia’s leading competitions for professional chefs. It also has one of the richest cash prizes of $10,000 thanks to the support of Gold sponsors Unox Australia, Chobani and Rare Medium; and silver sponsors Alsco, Robot Coupe and Sous Vide Australia.

“This is a highly regarded and competitive event,” says Farrell. “This year we have had over 200 entries which will be narrowed down to 32 finalists. They will meet each other in high pressure one-hour heats, culminating in a grand final on the last day. There is a strict set of criteria, and a team of culinary experts to judge the winner.”

Farrell adds that this year’s event will be surrounded by stadium-style seating for the first time, allowing spectators an unprecedented view of the action.

Unox will again be kitting out the competition kitchens with the latest LineMiss™ XFT133 ovens and SpidoCook™ Frytops. “The LineMiss is perfect for the competition kitchen because it can achieve the same excellent results as with a large oven, but in a very compact format,” says Wayne Viles, Managing Director of Unox Australia. “Once chefs have used these ovens they are just amazed by what they are capable of.”

Sam Burke, Executive Chef at Meat & Livestock Australia, is looking forward to being part of the judging panel under the leadership of Head Judge John McFadden.

“There are so many superstar chefs out there and getting them all together to showcase their skills under pressure makes for a great few days of competition,” he says.

Competitors can expect a wide variety of cuts of beef, lamb and goat in the mystery boxes. “Before you compete, do your research,” advises Burke. “Check out the Rare Medium website and make sure you’re clued up on the range of beef, lamb and goat cuts – particularly those in our Masterpieces section.

“Don’t forget to season and never underestimate the importance of resting your meat before serving. Most of all, have fun and enjoy it!”

Where the winner of Chef of the Year takes home a trophy, cash and prizes, the winner of the Bocuse d’Or Australian Selection receives something arguably even more valuable – the honour of representing their country.

“The Bocuse d’Or is the most prestigious competition in the world for chefs, held in Lyon every two years,” says Tom Milligan, President of Bocuse d’Or Australia and Executive Chef at Atlantic Group. “This year we achieved our best result in 30 years of participating, with Dan Arnold and his commis Ryan Cosentino coming eighth out of a field of 24 countries.”

The next Lyon event will be held in January 2019. To qualify, Australia must come in the top five of the Bocuse d’Or Asia Pacific, to be held in Singapore next year.

At Foodservice Australia, four hopeful chefs and their assistant or commis chef, will prepare a meat dish and a fish dish in just over five hours. The Bocuse d’Or Australian Selection is organised and judged by a committee of dedicated chefs and industry professionals, including previous Bocuse d’Or competitors Scott Pickett, Joseph Vargetto and Simon Cosentino and Tom Milligan himself.

Milligan comments that entering the Australian Selection is not for the faint-hearted. “It is a big commitment to training and competing over the next two years,” he says. “Therefore at the Australian Selection we are not just assessing the flair, flavour and presentation of their dishes, we actually more interested in their composure under pressure, their kitchen organisational skills and their interaction with their commis chef.”

Being part of Foodservice Australia will continue to raise the profile of Bocuse d’Or in Australia, believes Milligan. “We are very thankful to our many sponsors and supporters who have got us to where we are now,” he says. “The challenge is to continue the momentum and turn out more truly trailblazing dishes at the Bocuse d’Or Asia Pacific next year, and then hopefully in Lyon 2019.”

A stellar lineup of Melbourne chefs will participate in the ‘Road to Lyon’ gala dinner, hosted by Atlantic Group at Central Pier, Docklands on Monday 29 May. Raising funds to assist the Australian team, the dinner will feature a French menu of classical Paul Bocuse dishes, presented with a modern Australian twist.

The winner of the Bocuse d’Or Australian Selection will be announced at a luncheon at Foodservice Australia on Tuesday 30 May, followed by the Chef of the Year Grand Final. It should be an amazing day.

Entries for both events will close on 1 May. For more information and online entries visit www.foodserviceaustralia.com.au or www.bocusedoraustralia.com.au

Source: Specialised Events