Finalists chosen for Chef of the Year 2023

In just a few weeks Melbourne will welcome 32 of the best professional chefs from around Australia to compete in the prestigious Chef of the Year competition. It runs at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre from 30 April – 2 May alongside the huge Foodservice Australia expo.

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

Wright says “this is a real pressure test. Chefs compete 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.”

The winner from last year Konstantin Putkin from The Virgin Kitchen in Hepburn will be back to defend his title. He will be up against a number of previous finalists, including Kimberley Fitzpatrick from the Sebel in Yarrawonga, Dino Ng from the W Hotel in Brisbane, Tommy Prosser from Hospitality Works and Jack Lee from Nook Dining in Point Cook who won the crown back in 2017.

Chefs competing for the first time this year include Wing Hung from doot doot doot; Davide Amato from Loti; Saugat Shrestha from Esca Bimbadgen; Henriette Jensen from Pinelli Estate Winery; Michael Hutchings from The Cottom Club; Karl Nicholson from Nomadical and Christin Dynia from The Conservatory.

Also for the first time there will be three chefs competing from the healthcare sector. They are David Martin from St Vincents Care, Kuke Stephens from Uniting Care and Andrew Wisken from Warringal Private Hospital. Wright says “this really shows how far this style of catering has advanced in the last five years.”

Head Judge John McFadden leads a team of highly experienced judges including chefs Mark Normoyle, Telina Menzies, Gary Johnson, Jenna Louise Cunningham, Beth Candy, Scott Pickett, Jerry Mai, George Colombaris and Andrew Ballard. Popular food personalities Glenn Flood and Tawnya Bahr will be MCs for the event.

The competition is proudly presented by Anchor Food Professionals, Bidfoods and Unox Ovens. Additional support is provided by Leeuwin Coast, All Rosie Promotions, Oil2U, SAJ Fruit, Tasty Spices and the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Foodservice Australia is the only dedicated tradeshow for the food and hospitality industry. There will be over 350 exhibitors showing the latest food, drink and equipment as well as free workshops and stages. Entry is free but you must be 16 and work in the hospitality industry. General public and children are not admitted.

For more information on the event and free tickets visit or call the organisers Specialised Events on 03 9999 5460.

The Finalists:

Eduardo Esponel Sous Chef, Australian Turf Club NSW

Evan Burrows Area Chef, Australian Venue Co VIC

Rose Bass Head Chef, Corvo Bar + Kitchen WA

Wing Yeung Hung Head Chef, Doot doot doot VIC

Saugat Shresha Chef, Esca Bimbadgen NSW

Trevor Jenkins Teacher, Holmesglen VIC

Tommy Prosser Executive Chef, Hospitality Works NSW

Marvin Tan Chef, Innocent Bystander VIC

Davide Amato Executive Chef, Loti VIC

Stefano Paolillo Sous Chef, Machiavelli NSW

Jessica Hall Sous Chef, Mercers Restaurant VIC

Nick Kavenagh Junior Sous, Mimis NSW

Matthew Kennedy Executive Chef, Mr Miyagi VIC

Richmond Rodrigues Head Chef, Muse Kitchen NSW

Karl Nicholson Chef / Owner, Nomadical WA

Jack Lee Chef / Owner, Nook Dining VIC

Henriette Jensen Head Chef, Pinelli Estate WA

Craig Dowling Executive Sous Chef, RACV Club VIC

Gyeyoung Kim Head Chef, Rice Queen VIC

Joanne Steedman Head Chef, Salamanca Fresh TAS

David Martin Executive Chef, St Vincents Care VIC

Kimberley Fitzpatrick Executive Chef, Stock and Barrel VIC

Steve Jang Executive Sous, Australian Club VIC

Sara Egan Chef, The Blue Swimmer NSW

Christin Dynia Chef de Cuisine, The Conservatory VIC

Michael Hutchings Head Chef, The Cotton Club QLD

Chris Timmins Head Chef, The Farmers Arms VIC

Tom Hitchcock Head Chef, The Spirit House QLD

Konstantin Putkin Executive Chef, The Virgin Kitchen VIC

Luke Stephens Executive Chef, Uniting Aged Care NSW

Dino Ng Sous Chef, W Hotel Brisbane QLD

Andrew Wisken Chef, Warringal Private Hospital VIC

The Chef Judges:

John McFadden Chair of Judges

Beth Candy Montalto

Telina Menzies Australian Venue Co

George Colombaris Hotel Sorrento

Jenna Louise Cunningham Lucy Liu

Mark Normoyle Luna’s

Jerry Mai Pho Nom, Bia Hoi

Scott Pickett Matilda, Chancery Lane, Estelle, Audrey’s, Longrain

Gary Johnson ALH Hotels

Andrew Ballard Simmer Catering

More images available of competition, competitors and judges

Media Contact:

Sophie Cartwright

T 03 9999 5460 E