Finalists chosen for Chef of the Year 2024

Caption: Finalists and judges celebrate Tom Hitchcock winning Chef of the Year 2023 last year in Melbourne. This year the competition is even bigger with entries from around the country.

Media release: 22 April 2024

In just a few weeks Sydney 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 International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour from 19-21 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.”

He says “this year we had a record number of entries from around Australia and the quality was top notch. That made it very hard for the judges to select the top 32 who will be competing live in the finals. We went for experience and also selected across a range of regions and industry sectors to mix it up”.

Sydney is well represented with Steve Gleeson from the Art Gallery of NSW; Moonrat Chowdery from Dolton House; Jack Basoff from The Fullerton; Nicolas Liglet from the Harbour View Hotel; Rich Bihag from the Polish Club; Harrison Duncan from the new BTWN Restaurant at Darling Harbour; Lucas Doab from The D’s Bar; Nicola Ronconi from Nico; Allen Varghese from TWR; and previous finalist Tommy Prosser from Crustacean Nation.

Chefs travelling up from Victoria include Oliver Garrioch from Cumulus Inc; Matthew Kennedy from My Miyagi; Dinesh Silwal from Rockpool; Evan Burrows from Australian Venue Co; Jalen Santos from Major Mitchell Café; Nikhil Desai from the Park Hyatt; Hoaran Shen from St Vincents Aged Care; and Sean Cameron from Elsewhere which is in Shepparton.

Flying over from WA are Linney Breytenbach from the Frankland River; Kieran Curtis from Funk Drinks in Perth; Travis Crane from Voyager Estate in the Margaret River; Liam Brnic from Crown; Paul Gregoraci from Bago Tavern; and the youngest chef Jessica Roe from Bistro Gillaume. Jessica recently won a gold medal at the Golden Chefs Hat youth competition.

Coming down from Queensland are Dayan Hartill Law from Palette in Surfers Paradise; Dino Ng from Rydges in South Brisbane; Lee Anne Mohr from the Surfair Hotel in Marcoola; and current Queensland Chef of the Year Grant Parry who recently moved to The Star on the Gold Coast.

Head Judge John McFadden leads a team of highly experienced judges including Claire Van Vuuren, Amanda Fuller, Jamie Gannon, Darren Templeman, Simon Sandall, Justin North and George Calombaris. Popular food personalities Glenn Flood and Tawnya Bahr will be providing the commentary.

The competition is proudly presented by industry leaders Anchor Food Professionals, Bidfood and Unox Ovens. Additional support is provided by Alsco Uniforms, Oil2U, Love Buds, Bone Roasters, Glad to be Green and ICC Sydney.

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 a food or hospitality business. General public and children are not admitted.

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