Michael Cole hailed Chef of the Year 2019

Media Release: 28 June 2019

He entered at the last minute and is so glad he did – Michael Cole has been named Chef of the Year 2019, winning the prestigious title as well as $6,500 cash and valuable prizes from major sponsors Unox, Anchor Food Professionals and Australian Pork.

As the second-time winner and Australia’s representative in this year’s Bocuse d’Or global culinary contest, Cole was under pressure to perform, and he delivered, winning first his heat, then the semi-final and the grand final.

“I couldn’t be happier,” says Cole. “I really wanted to test myself and see how far I had come since I won Chef of the Year in 2017. I think it’s a great way to benchmark myself against the best of the best in this industry and competing inspires me to be more creative and disciplined.”

Head Judge John McFadden says Cole didn’t waiver from the heat, to the semi and the grand final and scored highly for all his dishes. He explains, “What set Michael apart from the get-go was his methodical and clinical approach, and the way he maintained a consistently high standard in his kitchen practices and culinary techniques”.

“The standard in the grand final was incredibly high,” adds McFadden. “It is amazing to see the calibre of chefs entering this competition and the prestige attached to being selected.“

Cole’s fellow grand finalists were Ollie Hansford, newly appointed as Executive Chef at Stokehouse Q in Brisbane; Josh Pelham, Executive Chef at RACV Cape Schanck Resort and Tom Brockbank, Executive Chef at The Windsor Hotel.

They each had to cook two dishes from a mystery box of ingredients in one hour, in front of a panel of expert judges and a huge crowd of cheering onlookers. This year the mystery box included pork liver, ear, belly, cheek and crepinette, plus chicken breast, kingfish, scallops and crabmeat, butter, cream, fingerlimes, raisins and red elk mustard cress. The chefs were also required to use a smoking gun.

“This was a real pressure test,” says McFadden. “The mystery box was very challenging and all four chefs performed phenomenally well.”

The Australian Professional Chef of the Year competition is one of the most rewarding in the country, with a total prize pool of $10,000. The winner of each heat receives $500, while the winner of the Grand Final receives $6000. In addition sponsor Ecolab awarded each grand finalist a bonus $500.

Competition Director Gary Farrell says the competition was made possible by generous industry supporters including Gold Sponsors Australian Pork, Anchor Food Professionals and Unox Australia plus silver sponsors Alsco, PFD Food Services, Simco, Sous Vide Australia, Ecolab and Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

“This year’s event drew the largest ever audience to the competition at the heart of the show floor at Foodsevice Australia,” says Farrell. “Our MCs Peter Howard and Dani Valent kept the crowd informed and entertained, while the judging panel tirelessly gave their time and expertise to score each heat.”

Led by John McFadden, this year’s judging panel comprised Le Cordon Bleu’s Tom Milligan, consultant Executive Chef Mark Normoyle, Sascha Randle from Meatsmith, Bas Van Uyen from Lucas Restaurants, Daman Shrivastav from Box Hill Institute, Daniel Soto from Holmesglen Institute and Deepak Mishra from Accor Hotels Australia.

The next Australian Professional Chef of the Year will be held at ICC Sydney, 17-19 May.

Entries will open later this year. For more information and full results visit the event website at www.chefcompetition.com.au


High resolution images of chefs and dishes are available upon request.

Media Contact:

Kirsty Hunt

T: 03 9999 5460

E: kirsty@specialisedevents.com.au


Top: Chef of the Year 2019 Michael Cole and Head Judge John McFadden.