Finalists announced for Chef of the Year

Media Release: 7 June 2019

Finalists ready to battle for Chef of the Year 2019

Melbourne will welcome 32 talented chefs from around the nation this month for the prestigious Australian Professional Chef of the Year contest, to be held at Foodservice Australia trade show 23-25 June at Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Competition Director Gary Farrell says the vast number of entries from senior professional chefs demonstrates this title has become one of the most sought-after in the Australian culinary world. And with a share of $10,000 cash up for grabs, it is also one of Australia’s richest competitions for chefs.

Farrell says, “This is a real pressure test – chefs compete in heats against the clock and each other to produce their two best dishes using featured ingredients, all in front of a live audience. You have to be calm, clean and in control – sometimes the best dishes are also the simplest ones, which allow the produce to shine.”

Grand finalists from 2018 returning to do battle again include Andrew Ballard from Simmer Culinary in Melbourne, Jason Martin from Quattro Fine Foods on NSW’s Central Coast and reigning champion Jack Lee from Bean Smuggler in Point Cook, Victoria.

Michael Cole from Flinders Hotel on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, who was Chef of the Year 2017, is also throwing his toque in the ring, fresh from competing in the Bocuse d’Or in Lyon in January. In addition, 2018’s Queensland Chef of the Year Marcus Hillier from Factory 51 in Brisbane is heading to Melbourne to compete as part of his prize.

Other returning chefs include Daniel Wijekoon from Odeum Restaurant in Muswellbrook NSW, Megan Hooton from Bread in Common in Fremantle WA, Rosie Griffiths from Cape Lodge WA and Mathew Lee from Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Chefs competing for the first time include Josh Pelham, Executive Chef at RACV Resort Cape Schanck; Ollie Hansford, Head Chef at Melbourne’s Stokehouse; Karl Edwards, Sous Chef at Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre and Walter Trupp from Trupp The Chef’s Table Cooking School in Melbourne.


Head Judge John McFadden leads a team of highly experienced judges including Deepak Mishra, Mark Normoyle, Tom Milligan, Sascha Randle, Daman Shrivastav, Daniel Soto and Bas Van Uyen. Popular food personalities Peter Howard and Dani Valent will be MCs for the event.

The competition is proudly supported by Gold Sponsors Anchor Food Professionals, Australian Pork and Unox. Produce will be supplied by PFD and uniforms by Alsco, with extra equipment from Simco, Ecolab and Sous Vide Australia. Organisers also appreciate support from the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Foodservice Australia is the only dedicated tradeshow for the restaurant and catering industry. There will be over 400 exhibitors and more exciting competitions, plus free workshops and seminars. Entry is free if you are over 16, work in the hospitality industry and pre-register online. General public and children are not admitted.

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

The Finalists:

Sushil Aryal Head Chef, Tokyo Tina (Vic)

Andrew Ballard Owner/Chef, Simmer Culinary (Vic)

Tom Brockbank Executive Chef, Hotel Windsor (Vic)

Jonathan Clarke Snr Sous Chef, European Catering (NSW)

Michael Cole Head Chef, Georgie Bass Café & Cookery School (Vic)

Lloyd Cremer Chef, Twin Towns Clubs & Resorts (NSW)

Craig Dowling Chef de Cuisine, RACV City Club (Vic)

Karl Edmonds Exec Sous Chef, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (Vic)

Kimberley Fitzpatrick Head Chef, Yarrawonga Golf Club Resort (NSW)

Rosie Griffiths Head Chef, Cape Lodge (WA)

Margiory Guzman Head Chef, Antonio’s Trattoria (NSW)

Nickolas Han Jr Sous Chef, Rockpool Bar & Grill (Vic)

Ollie Hansford Head Chef, Stokehouse (Vic)

Marcus Hillier Sous Chef, Factory 51 (Qld)

Megan Hooton Chef de Partie, Bread in Common (WA)

Brett Humphries Executive Chef, Q Dining at Pullman (NSW)

Jack Lee Owner/Chef, Bean Smuggler (Vic)

Mathew Lee Sous Chef, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (Qld)

Jason Martin Head Chef, Quattro Fine Foods (NSW)

Roy McVeigh Executive Chef, Darley’s (NSW)

Tony Moss Chef, O'Connell’s Hotel (Vic)

Steve Nelson Head Chef, The Recreation Bistro (Vic)

Casey Parsons Chef de Cuisine, Hunters Quarter (NSW)

Josh Pelham Executive Chef, RACV Resort Cape Schanck (Vic)

Sebastiano Pezzoli Sous Chef, Cecconi’s Flinders Lane (Vic)

Andrew Potter Sous Chef, Punch Lane Wine Bar (Vic)

Haruhisa Sonobe Sous Chef, Nobu Melbourne

Tim Stapleforth Head Chef, Supernormal Canteen

Marvin Tan Sous Chef, Cape (Vic)

Walter Trupp Director, Trupp the Chef’s Table (Vic)

Stuart Walsh Chef & Academic Manager, Le Cordon Bleu Sydney (NSW)

Daniel Wijekoon Executive Chef, Odeum Restaurant (NSW)

The Judges:

John McFadden Business Development Manager, Select Fresh Providores

Tom Milligan Technical Director, Le Cordon Bleu

Deepak Mishra Culinary Director, Accor Hotels Australia

Mark Normoyle Executive Chef, MN Consulting

Sascha Randle Head Chef, Meatsmith

Daman Shrivastav Lecturer, Box Hill Institute

Daniel Soto Hospitality Trainer, Holmesglen Institute

Bas Van Uyen Executive Chef, The Lucas Group


Media Contact:

Kirsty Hunt

T 03 9999 5460