Chefs battle for top titles at Foodservice Australia

The heat will be fierce in the live kitchens at Foodservice Australia in Sydney next May, with professional chefs competing in two illustrious and demanding competitions on the show floor – Battle of the Pacific and Chef of the Year.

“These two competitions are very different, but 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.”

The Battle of the Pacific will see nine teams compete over three days to run the best pop-up restaurant on the show floor. Each team comprising a head chef, junior chef and pastry chef will need to prepare a two-course meal for 30 guests. There will be teams representing Victoria, Queensland, NSW, Western Australia, South Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

The event will be organised by the Australian Culinary Federation and is set to be a highlight of their competition calendar.

“The ACF is the peak body for chefs in Australia, so it’s important that we run events where the chefs congregate, and that’s Foodservice Australia,” says ACF General Manager Deb Foreman. “This is a really exciting competition and encourages chefs at any level to step out of their comfort zone.”

While Battle of the Pacific is new to the show, the Chef of the Year competition has been held annually at Foodservice Australia for more than a decade and has grown to be one of the nation’s most prestigious culinary competitions.

The competition is open to any professional chef working in Australia. From hundreds of entries the top 32 will be selected to compete live at the show. They will be given one hour and a mystery box of ingredients to create their two best dishes. Knock out heats lead to an exciting grand final on the last day of the show.

“I have been involved in Chef of the Year for the past six years, and in that time it has morphed into a highly respected competition for professional chefs,” says Head Judge John McFadden, Area Executive Chef for Pan Pacific Hotels.

“What I saw at the competition this year in Melbourne just blew me away. It was amazing in terms of the high calibre of the chefs.”

McFadden adds that all chefs who enter benefit greatly from challenging themselves in such a competitive environment and networking with like-minded people.

“It is great to see how these chefs perform under pressure, I really like seeing how far they are willing to push themselves in the timeframe,” he says. “It’s also a great education in flavours and technique for us as judges, for the participants and for the visitors, seeing how each competitor handles the protein and other mandatory ingredients.”

The ACF’s Deb Foreman agrees that competing in a live environment like Foodservice Australia has many benefits for chefs. “You learn new things you can apply in your own kitchen, and you can see what other people are doing with ingredients – it’s the best way to stay up to date and at the leading edge of your profession. You also create firm new friendships and contacts.”

Foodservice Australia 2018
Sunday 27 May 10am-5pm
Monday 28 May 10am-5pm
Tuesday 29 May 10am-5pm
ICC Sydney, Darling Harbour

For more information on the show, exhibitors, special events and registration visit or call Specialised Events on 03 9999 5460.