Foodservice Australia 2018 – Sydney

First-time entrant Jack Lee from Melbourne has been named Chef of the Year, winning the prestigious title as well as $6,500 cash and valuable prizes from major sponsors Unox, Chobani and Australian Pork.

Soon to open his café Beansmuggler in Point Cook, Lee is thrilled to have won the competition held over three days at Foodservice Australia. He says “I never expected to win against so many highly experienced chefs. It was an incredible three days, I watched all the heats and learned so many new techniques.”

The competition received 180 entries which were whittled down to 32 for the live cooking finals in Sydney and the final 4 for the exciting Grand Final. His fellow grand finalists were Andrew Ballard from Simmer Culinary in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, Naomi Lowry from Culina et Vinum in Sydney and Jason Martin from Locavore in the Hunter Valley.

“Chef of the Year 2018 was elevated to even greater heights this year” according to Head Judge and Executive Chef John McFadden. “A high standard was set during the heats, and these benchmarks were raised in the finals. It was a true indication of the professional calibre of all the candidates.”

Fellow judges included chefs Adam Moore, Nick Whitehouse, Karen Doyle (Le Cordon Bleu), Steve Belcher (Le Cordon Bleu), Claire Van Vuuren (Bloodwood and Popla), Julio Azzarello (Gourmand Providore) and Tony Panetta (ICC Sydney). The competition director was Gary Farrell and compere was Peter Howard AM.

Lee says, “The judges were so helpful, I received very good feedback from my heat and semi-final that I was able to use to improve my performance in the grand final”.

“The final round was very hard, the mystery box had five different cuts of Murray Valley Pork. I decided to keep it very simple, so I was fully relying on the quality of the meat. I just cooked it with a bit of salt. The pork’s flavour and texture were perfect.”

John McFadden says the mystery box is a great way to challenge chefs and understand their raw talent. “Jack was very meticulous, methodical and most importantly stayed consistent throughout the final, where he showcased quality produce with restraint. His clinical and effortless kitchen work, paired with great flavours, presentation and balance, had him a good few points ahead of the field.”

The Australian Professional Chef of the Year competition is one of the most rewarding in the country, with a total prize pool of $10,000. The winner of each heat receives $500, while the winner of the Grand Final receives $6000.

As the winner Jack Lee also received a study tour to Rivalea’s production farm in NSW from Australian Pork, Robot Cook courtesy of Robot Coupe and gift vouchers from Chobani, PFD Food Services and RSEA Safety. In addition, Chef Lee and all the grand finalists took home the Unox LineMiss Arianna Oven they used in the competition.

Organiser Gary Farrell says the competition was made possible by generous industry supporters including Australian Pork, Chobani and Unox Australia, Alsco, PFD Food Services, Robot Coupe, Winterhalter and ICC Sydney. He also acknowledged the huge support provided by the Foodservice Australia tradeshow.

The next Australian Professional Chef of the Year will be held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre from 23-25 June. Entries will open later this year. For more information and full results visit the event website at www.chefcompetition.com.au


Naomi Lowry, Jason Martin, Nick Whitehouse, Claire Van Vuuren, Adam Moore, Jack Lee, John McFadden, Karen Doyle and Andrew Ballard.

**Information & Images Courtesy of Foodservice Australia/Specialised Events – Kirsty Hunt

Connie Lambeth

The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events



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