Young chefs face cook-off for award

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 26th May 2010

The young chefs, waiters and restauranteurs shortlisted for the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence awards face a gruelling Masterchef-style road to victory.

In Sydney later next month, the chefs will participate in a professional cook-off, racing against the clock to prepare and present a dish for the judging panel. The waiters will be asked to put their palates to the test with a blind food and wine tasting, and demonstrate their customer service skills under careful scrutiny of judges, including Georgia North, Lisa Van Haandel, Luke Stringer, and Sam Christie.

The short-list of competitors, announced today, includes eighteen chefs, twelve waiters and five restauranteurs from around Australia. They will be assessed by a heavyweight panel of judges, including Chris Taylor, Christine Manfield, Guy Grossi, Luke Mangan, Peter Doyle, Peter Gilmore, Philip Johnson, Tetsuya Wakuda, Tony Bilson, and ultimately by the multi-Michelin starred Brett Graham from Notting Hill’s The Ledbury, UK.

The whittled-down finalists will be competing for a place on a produce tour along the NSW coast, from Byron Bay to Sydney in late June, to experience first-hand the production of some of the country’s finest fresh produce and wines.

Immediately following the tour, the finalists will compete for the final judging – a mystery box cook-off for the chefs and rigorous customer service, food and wine tests for the waiters.

“The Electrolux Appetite for Excellence finalists represent Australia’s most promising young hospitality professionals as decided by a panel of industry leaders. These young people now face an extraordinary challenge and an incredible opportunity to further their careers. Over the next two months, the young chefs and waiters will be whittled down via cook-off/wait-off challenges and have an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to demonstrate their talents in front of arguably one of the most high-profile judging panels in the business. The young restaurateurs will be in discussions with the judging panel before being interviewed.” said Luke Mangan.

The winners of the Chef and Waiter prizes will be awarded $3000 cash, a chance to represent Australia at the San Pellegrino Cooking Cup in Venice, cooking equipment for the winner’s restaurant, and a wine-tasting trip to Henschke in Eden Valley, SA. The Young Restauranteur will be flown to London for the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants event and kitted out with restaurant equipment, as well as $8000 cash.

Every short-listed entrant will also be invited to a workshop later this year, with local producers and winemakers, and will have the chance to make the most of the education and mentorship available during the judging process.