The search for Australia’s best sandwich continues

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 28th June 2011

The Australasian Sandwich Association continues its search for Australia’s best sandwich maker, with Matt Wilkinson of Pope Joan in Brunswick East, Melbourne, crowned the winner of the Southern Final of the Great Australian Sandwichship.

The competition, held at the FSA Expo in Melbourne, is sponsored by George Weston Foods’ foodservice arm, and run by the Australasian Sandwich Association, a newly-formed café and sandwich industry body.

Competing against four of the best sandwich makers from across Australia’s southern states, Wilkinson won narrowly with their own unique take on what constitutes a good sandwich across a number of different categories including best toasted and creative sandwich, along with a wrap and a roll. Key to his victory at the Great Australian Sandwichship Southern Final was the creativity of his menu which included his lunch roll, The Cornish, and Posh Toasted, a toasted sandwich with Welsh rarebit fondue, both of which won awards in their respective categories.

‘I am extremely proud to have been named as the best sandwich maker from across the southern states of Australia. The competition was extremely strong and the innovation from everyone involved has been amazing to see,’ said Wilkinson. ‘I’m excited to see over the coming months if I will represent Australia at the World Sandwichship.’

‘The Great Australian Sandwichship has been established to draw industry attention towards Australia’s café and sandwich shop workers through a dedicated competition aimed at finding Australia’s best sandwich creator,’ said Graeme McCormack, Executive Director of the Australasian Sandwich Association. ‘It was exciting to see such a high level of talent and creativity from within a commonly overlooked area of the food service industry – sandwich makers – and Matt is a worthy winner.’

Tony Green, Marketing Director at GWF Foodservice, said, ‘Matt showed great creativity and technique with all of his creations today and the Great Australian Sandwichship Northern Final entrants will be hard placed to beat them. We, at GWF Foodservice, are sure that whoever represents Australia at the upcoming World Sandwichship will showcase the ingenuity and dedication that are the hallmarks of local sandwich industry workers.’

Highlighting the strength of the local sandwich industry, retail sales amongst key players in the Australian Sandwich sector (including cafes, sandwich bars, bakeries, salad and juice bars) have been revealed to have reached nearly AU$7.6 billion, according to The NPD Group’s CREST service, year ending March 2011.

‘Although not representative of the sandwich industry as a whole as it doesn’t include sandwich manufacturers and distributers, it is encouraging to see how healthy the retail side of Australia’s sandwich industry is,’ said McCormack.

‘The sandwich industry contributes significantly to Australia’s growing and vibrant food sector and today’s retail research further confirms just how important the smaller players in our national food landscape actually are.’

The Great Australian Sandwichship Northern Final will be held in August at Fine Food Sydney. The Northern and Southern winners will compete for a place in the World Sandwichship Final in Sydney in October, where they will compete against the best sandwich makers from around the world.