The 54th year of the culinary cooking competition saw nothing short of talent from the young chefs who pushed themselves to their limits, plating up exceptional dishes and showcasing exceptional techniques in the kitchen.
Mark Clayton the Executive Chef of Nestlé Professional stated, “Each and every competitor “performed to an exceptional level. They were focused, determined and pushed themselves to deliver some outstanding dishes. The future looks bright for these young chefs.”
Day 1 Competitors at Fine Food Sydney
The unique judging panel consisted of Australian Culinary Federation judges Karen Doyle, Andre Kropp, Jenni Key and Nestlé Professional’s Mark Clayton. The time, energy and dedication of these judges is greatly appreciated as their mentoring of the next generation of chefs during the competition is invaluable.
Our competition judges and MC Glenn Flood
Giles Gabutina and Alessio Nogaratto from Bentley Restaurant and Bar in Sydney were crowned the National Champions, impressing the judges with their winning menu. Check out the dishes below!
Entree: “Tartare” of charred zucchini and roasted mushrooms, with smoked eggplant, lemon sour cream, and a salad of shaved fennel and zucchini - awarded a Silver medal
Main: Roasted lamb loin with a lamb and potato croquette, green pea and miso purée, peas dressed in a mint and caper salsa verde, a salad of pea shoots and red amaranth, and a smoked lamb jus - awarded a Silver medal
Dessert: Roasted and glazed pears with a crème fraiche and citrus parfait, toasted olive oil cake, burnt pear and brown butter emulsion, and an infusion of bitter citrus, fennel and olive oil - awarded a Gold medal
Giles Gabutina and Alessio Nogaratto crowned 2019 National Champions
There was a contagious energy around the awards night as everyone was buzzing with excitement around this year’s winners Giles and Alessio, who were thrilled to be the 54th recipients of the prestigious Golden Hat and will be rewarded with a $15,000 culinary trip of a life time to North America.
The culinary talent and passion from this year’s finalists was astounding. With some familiar and new faces competing this year, it’s clear that this platform is continuing to help develop careers of these young chefs by providing them opportunities to learn valuable skills and make lifelong friends in the culinary industry.
It’s not just the young chefs who Nestlé Professional are supporting as this year’s competitor Owen Cootes, from the NSW Regional Team states, ‘My boss had over 50 function requests over night for our small country town vineyard Two Tails Wines in Nana Glen. This is guaranteed to have come from the cooking competition! Coming from a small town, it’s amazing how being involved in such a professional cooking competition will make a huge impact on our culinary career.’
This is an incredible example of the impact that this competition is having on the food service industry!
Some of our alumni who competed in previous years.
From the left Shane Middleton (2009, 2010, 2011), Ben Richards (2017), Matt Wills (2018), Adelene Stanke (2015, 2016), Billy Fox (2016, 2017, 2018), along with Executive Chef of Nestlé Professional Mark Clayton.
It was a pleasure to also hear from some of our alumni who had competed in prior years, detailing their experiences and opportunities that came after the competition, such as Shane Middleton one of our National Champion’s from 2010 and 2011 who had since worked at Dinner by Heston in London and Melbourne, and now is the Executive Sous Chef at the QT in Perth.
Another notable speaker was Billy Fox, one of our 2018 National Champions who spoke about his unforgettable prize trip to Italy this year where he got to work alongside Massimo Batturo at 3 Michelin Star restaurant Osterio Francescana. Billy is the captain of the Australian Culinary Youth Team and has already competed in Hong Kong and is due to compete in upcoming competitions in South Africa and Germany! Go Billy Fox!
The Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award turns 55 next year and no doubt the talent that comes through will be just as exceptional as this year. Nestlé has helped over nearly 7000 young chefs develop their careers through this competition so far, and it’s amazing to watch them develop their careers afterwards. They are pioneers in this industry and let’s face it – the future of food service!
Bring on 2020!