2018 Produce Tour – South Australia

If you ask most chefs, waiters and restaurateurs what matters most in their restaurant, they’ll probably tell you that it’s sourcing top quality, seasonal ingredients. 

With this in mind, each year we take our talented young professionals – the cream of the crop who have reached the final round of the Appetite for Excellence program – on a three day, all expenses paid produce tour to meet and learn from incredible farmers, producers and growers.

In July our Young Chef, Waiter and Restaurateur National Finalists flew with partner Virgin Australia to Adelaide to tour South Australia’s rich produce regions including the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley and Port Adelaide. 

They were joined on the tour with Mitch Edwards from Porkstar, Mary-Jane Morse from Rare Medium and A4X Alumni Mal Meiers who represented RUOK.

The food safari started at Richard Gunners Fine Meat Processing in Mt Barker before heading to Ngeringa Farm, stopping off at Summertown Aristologist before winding up at Lost in a Forest. 

The following day, they rose early to head to Danni Mansfields free range pig farm in Mt Pleasant before spending the day at Saskia Beer Produce Masterclass at Pheasant Farm where they learn to break down a pig and make sausages whilst our waiters and restaurateurs did wine masterclasses with Phil Lehman from Max and Me, David Franz from Franz Wines and John Hughes from Riesling Freak. Our group also created their own gin with the Barossa Valley Gin School. The day wrapped up with an Inspired Series talk with Luke Mangan and Simon Byrant who chatted about the pressures of the industry and how to create a work/life balance.

Day 3 was spent at Port Adelaide, visiting the Hiramasa Kingfish Processing Plant at Cleanseas, visiting Two Gulf Crabs where the group learnt to break down crabs and cook Goolwa Pippis. The afternoon was spent at the Port Admiral Hotel in Port Adelaide before the group jet setted with Virgin back to their cities.

Want to be part of next year’s program? Applications for the 2019 Appetite for Excellence Awards open in February, so follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more details

2018 Awards Evening

Appetite for Excellence 2018 winners were announced at an awards ceremony at Luke’s Kitchen in Sydney. Now in its thirteenth year, the national awards program continues to attract the best of Australia’s food industry each year, to celebrate and nurture young talent and the future of the hospitality industry.

2018 also marks the first year Appetite for Excellence has joined forces with The Inspired Series, a development program that enables students, apprentices and young hospitality workers to gain insight from some of the country’s top chefs, waiters and restaurateurs on their experiences, providing them with career advice, tips and support within in the industry.

This year’s panel of new and returning judges boasted some of Australia’s biggest culinary names, including Luke Mangan (Luke’s Kitchen), Analiese Gregory (Franklin) and Kylie Javier Ashton (Momofuku Seiobo), Peter Gilmore (Quay, Bennelong), Sam Christie (The Apollo, Cho Cho San), Duncan Welgemoed (Africola), Danielle Gjestland (Wasabi), and Lisa Van Haandel (Longrain, Longsong), among others.

Luke Mangan, who founded both the Appetite for Excellence and The Inspired Series programs, remarked at the standard of applicants for 2018: “Once again, this year’s calibre of entrants has been nothing short of outstanding. The 2018 winners and runners-up of the awards represent some of this country’s finest hospitality talent and it’s my hope that the opportunities offered by this program help give them the tools to succeed and further their careers in our industry.”

The 2018 Appetite for Excellence program saw applications increase by 20% on the previous year, with applicants from seven states, and a 400% increase on female applicants.

Appetite for Excellence 2018 winners are:

Australian Young Waiter 2018

Winner: Tyler Austin, Stokehouse Q QLD

One to watch: Olivia Evans, Paper Daisy Restaurant NSW

Australian Young Chef 2018

Winner: Max Sharrad, Shobosho SA

One to watch: Jessi McEwan, Hogget Kitchen VIC

Australian Young Restaurateur 2018

Winner: Cam O’Keefe, CENTRA VIC

The program has an unparalleled record of discovering Australia’s best new talent, with Josh Niland (Saint Peter), Thi Le (Anchovy), Jake Kellie (Burnt Ends), James Viles (Biota) and Adam  D’Sylva (Coda and Tonka), among a long list of names that have come through the program.

For highlights – check our our instagram @appetiteforexcellence