RECIPE: Rack of pork, pickled shiitake mushrooms, sauce of juiced brassica split with seaweed oil and grilled leaves

2018 Appetite for Excellence Awards Young Chef of the Year Winner Max Sharrad from Shobosho in Adelaide shares his take on pork, brassicas and mushrooms

1kg 4 point free range pork rack, at room temperature
1kg Diced unsalted butter, chilled
1L Grapeseed oil
1kg Peeled turnips
1kg Kohlrabi (leaves reserved for grilling)
1kg Broccoli
100g Murray River pink salt
200g 100% blue gum honey
200mL Rice vinegar
100g Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
1 bunch Thyme
1 bulb Garlic
250g WELPAC brand dried wakame

First combine the honey and vinegar in a pot, adjust with water and salt and boil. Put shiitake mushrooms in a
bowl and pour over liquid. Cover with cling film and allow to steep for 30-45 minutes.

Clean the kohlrabi and turnips and cut into pieces small enough to pass through a juicer. Juice and add straight
into a pot. Bring to a boil and when a raft of vegetable protein forms, pass through an oil filter into a clean
pan. Season with salt and a little of the leftover pickling liquid from the shiitake mushroom.
Finally, add the juice into a thermomix, set the timer and set the temperature to 70°C. On speed 6 slowly add
cold diced butter until an emulsion forms. Check seasoning and set aside, the emulsion will hold until required.

Add the dried wakame and 500mL of grapeseed oil into a thermomix. Blitz for 8 minutes on speed 10 with the
temperature set to 100°C. Pass through an oil filter and set aside until required.

Boil a pot of salted water. Clean the brassica leaves and blanch until the stems are tender. Refresh in iced
water and dry on chux or paper towel. Very lightly salt the leaves and grill over charcoal or in the absence of
charcoal a hot dry pan. Once crispy set aside and brush with a tiny amount of wakame oil.

Preheat an oven to 200°C. Put a large pan on high heat and add grapeseed oil. Season the pork well and add to
the pan. Brown the pork on all sides before adding sprigs of thyme, two crushed garlic cloves and a large nob of
butter. Turn the pan down to medium flame and begin foaming the butter and basting the pork rack over and over
until the entire outside is golden brown. Be sure to keep control of the temperature of the pan and not burn the
butter otherwise the flavour of the pork will be ruined. Once brown check the pork and finish in the oven. Rest
the pork in aluminium foil until carving is required.

Carve the pork, season with a little salt and plate to the top right of centre, rib bone facing 11 o’clock.
Place the shiitake in a mixing bowl and dress with a little of the pickling liquid. On the opposite side of the
plate to the pork, assemble five shiitake per plate in a tight but random fashion. Cover the shiitake with the
grilled brassica leaves. Finally, heat the sauce to around 70°C. Fill four sauce jugs 1/2 the way with hot sauce
and another 1/4 way with wakame oil and swirl just before pouring in the middle of the plate so that tiny beads
of green oil float on the surface of the sauce. The sauce should be poured at the table.

RECIPE: 2018 Perrier Spritz Winner Sebastien Wattel Winter Solstice Spritz

The 2018 Perrier Spritz Sebastien Wattel from Bennelong shares his winning cocktail recipe.

This Spritz is called the Winter Solstice as it represents the turning point where the days begin to be brighter and the count down to summer begins. While the spices celebrate winter flavours the Perrier bubbles hint at the summer that is approaching.

25ml – house made mulled wine syrup
10ml – Pampelle ruby
10ml – Dry curacao
30ml – Perrier
Top with Sparking wine

Glass – wine glass

Garnish – dehydrated orange slice , cassia bark and flammed orange peel (discard)

RECIPE: Glazed Kurobuta pork belly with Lions Mane mushrooms, Turnip Tops & Local kelp

1kg     Skin on, bone out, Kurobuta Pork Belly
100g   Turnip top Koshō
100g   Shio Koji paste
500g   Lions Mane Mushrooms (cygnet Mushrooms)
500g   White Chestnut mushrooms
500g   Local kelp
20ea   Purple turnip
50g     Red elk or Red mustard leaves
20ea   Nasturtium leaves (Empress of India)


900ml Apple juice
300ml vincotto
100ml Tamari soy
20 peppercorns
10 Coriander seeds
5ea Bay leaves
5ea Garlic cloves
25g salt
100g sugar
80ml mirin
60ml Brown rice vinegar


2L Water
85g Rishiri Kombu
30g Dried shitake
20g Bonito flakes
45g  Aged Mirin
50g White soy
200g Butter
50g Kuzu

Combine all ingredients for glaze and bring up to boil. As this is happening remove skin from pork belly. Rub in Shio Koji and a little of the Turnip Koshō. Place into a small baking tray, cover with half the glaze (strained), cover in foil and roast in  oven at 150 degrees for 1 hour.

For the Dashi: Combine bonito flakes, dried shitake and water in a pot and bring up to the boil. Remove from the heat and cool to 80 degrees. Add the kombu and cling film for 30- 45 mins. Remove cling film and taste, season with aged mirin and white soy then strain. Add in the mushrooms and lightly poach for 5 mins then strain and reserve.

In a small bowl combine the Kuzu and a little water to make a paste, whisk into the Dashi just before boiling and cook out till thickened. Strain and remove from the heat.

When the remaining pork glaze is almost at a boil thicken with kuzu and strain then reserve for later.

Clean and cut the turnips, Wrap the mushrooms inside the local kelp with a little butter and check Charcoal BBQ is hot.

Remove pork from the oven and cut into 4 portions remove from cooking liquid and place onto the bbq and start to brush with thicken glaze constantly moving and turning. Add the kelp wrapped mushrooms to the coals and allow the outside kelp to burn. when you are 2 minutes away from platting add the turnips to the thickened dashi and poach for 2 mins.

Platting: Remove pork and mushrooms from the grill, Strain the turnips and reserve on a tray. Brush the bottom side of the pork with the remaining turnip top Koshō and give one last brush of thickened glaze. Place the pork belly down on the plate first followed by the mushrooms down the side, place the turnips on top spooning a little thickened dashi over. Cover with red elk and place nasturtium leaves around



RECIPE: Salt & Pepper Chocolate Cake, Dill & Honey Labneh, Caramel Macadamia Crumb, Rosemary

2018 Appetite for Excellence One-to-Watch Jess McEwan from Hogget Kitchen created a delicious dessert canape for our Awards Evening

1kg Salted Butter
1kg Sugar
1.25kg Dark Chocolate
1kg Almond Meal
30 Egg Yolks
30 Egg Whites
100g Pink Salt
50g Black Cracked Pepper
4 litres Yoghurt (Strained Immediately – 2 Days)
100ml Honey
½ Bunch Fresh Dill
800g Peeled and Raw Macadamias
300g Castor Sugar
Rosemary Flowers (Garnish)

Salt & Pepper Chocolate Cake

Melt the Butter and sugar in a large pot, add the salt and pepper and bring to a light simmer.
Once the sugar has melted, remove from direct heat and add the chocolate and almond meal. Stir immediately until combined.
In a mixer add half the egg white and beat to a medium peak. Meanwhile add the egg yolks to the chocolate mix and stir until the egg yolks have completely been mix in and the mixture is slightly glossy.
Fold the egg whites gently into the chocolate mix.
Beat the remaining egg whites to a medium peak and then fold into the mix.
Line four gastro trays with backing paper and divide the mixture evenly over the four trays. Careful not to lose any air. The mix should only make a 1/3 high of the tray.
Bake in the oven at 170 degrees for approx. 30 mins.
Place in the cool room to cool completely.
Once cooled, using a pastry cutter (1 ½ inch) circles and place on flat tray ready to garnish.

Once the yoghurt has been strained through muslin cloth for two days, remove the whey.
Add the Labneh to a medium bowl.
Finely chop the fresh dill (leave some sprigs for garnish later) , add to the Labneh and gently fold in the honey.
Put mix into a few piping bags for service.


Caramel Macadamia
Lightly roast the raw macadamias until golden, then roughly crush until the size of a pea.
Spray and line a tray with baking paper ready for the nuts are coated.
Pour the sugar and macadamias into a high saucepan at medium heat.
Continually stir the nuts until the sugar begins to melt and turn into a caramel. At this point it’s important to monitor the heat.
Stir the nuts until the sugar starts to crystalize, then eventually the sugar will re-melt and coating the nuts.
When the macadamias have been evenly coated in the remelted sugar, immediately pour and separate the nuts onto the line tray and cool at room temp.
Once the sugar has set and nuts are cool, using a mortar and pestle, gently crush the nuts into a chunky crumb ready for service.

Rosemary flowers
Clean the rosemary flowers and place on a lightly sprayed cold chux or paper towel ready for service.

To assemble
Snip the Labneh piping bag end to aprox 0.8cm.
Pipe directly onto the chocolate cake rounds, making sure the ratio of Labneh to cake is more.
Be generous with the caramel macadamias on top
Garnish with a few rosemary flowers and a sprig of dill
Then gently transfer to serving tray

RECIPE: Ora King Salmon sashimi with seaweed and pickled karkalla

2018 Young Chef Finalist Georgia Doherty from Qualia, QLD created this delicious creation using Ora King Salmon for our Awards Evening in August

Black Vinegar Gel
300ml shao xing
400ml soy sauce
600ml black vinegar
600g dark Palm sugar (gula Melaka)
400g grapeseed oil
23g agar

Combine all ingredients except agar in pot. Let sugar dissolve
Add agar, bring to the boil and simmer for a minute
Set in gastro, oil will split out
Blend in thermomix and the oil will emulsify itself back into the gel
Pack into bottles or piping bags for service

Seaweed Salsa Verde
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch chives
4 lemon zest
8 nori sheets
lemon juice
olive oil

Chop parsley and chives
Zest lemons
Lightly torch nori to dry out and crush into small pieces
Mix all herbs, lemon zest and nori with olive oil
Season with lemon juice and salt
Keep to consistency of a salsa verde, this is a dressing/coating for the salmon

Puffed Wild Rice
Black wild rice
3L veg oil

Heat oil until smoking
Lace small amounts of black rice in a small chinois at a time
Cool rice and lightly blitz to form a chunky crumb

Salmon sashimi
Ora King salmon

Fillet salmon, pin bone and take the skin off
Divide the side down the middle and cut sashimi slices around 3mm thick

Pickled karkalla
900ml water
600ml rice wine vinegar
300g sugar

Boil pickle and cool
Pour cooled pickle onto pickled karkalla and store in fridge. To be done 6-8 hours before serving


RECIPE: Oxtail, Popcorn, Pyengana Cheddar, Pickles, Lime

2018 Finalist Rhys Connell created this delicious canape for the 2018 Appetite for Excellence Awards Evening

7kg Oxtail
5 x Carrots
4 x Stalks of Celery
2 x Heads of Garlic
1 x Bunch of Thyme
5 x Fresh Bay leaves
15g Back Peppercorns
4 x Star anise
8 x pieces of Clove
2 x Sticks of 15cm Kombu
750g Madeira
800g Soy
500g Mirin
250g Shrio Dashi
10 x Ears of Corn
8 x Limes
8g Kuzu Starch
6 x leaves of Gold Gelatin
200g Butter
3 x Jars of McClure’s Spicy whole pickles
1.2 kg Pyengana Cheddar Cheese
1.2 kg Popcorn
1.2 kg Rye Crumbs
800g Cornstarch
400g Finley ground Polenta

For the Oxtail

Coat Oxtail in ground white pepper, and using a little oil, brown in a large stockpot in batches. Once completed, tip excess oil out of pan and wipe, deglaze the pot with Madeira but don’t reduce. Add to the pot the oxtail along with 10L of water, Peeled whole carrots, whole celery, halved garlic, peppercorns, star anise, cloves, kombu thyme and bay leaves, soy, mirin and shiro dashi. If the liquid does not cover the oxtail, top up with water. Braise until tender and meat is falling off the bone around 4 hours. Once cool enough to the touch pick meat from bones making sure to separate the cartilage and small bones in the process. Run a knife through the meat to cop finely. In a large mixing bowl, mix meat and about a cup of the braising liquid together and using your hands mush meat up making a firm mix. Place enough meat mix into a cryovac bags and press flat to make a sheet of meat mix about 75mm high. Sous-vide and seal. Using a rolling pin, roll bags evenly and flat. Chill mix for around an hour. You will need to keep the mix cold while you work from here. Cut mix out of bags but keep in flat sheets. Cut fingers 800mm in length x 75mm x 75mm of the cold oxtail mix and freeze on a tray.


For Corn and Lime

Cut the Kernels from the corn and blend to make a corn juice, pass through muslin cloth for a fine bright yellow juice. Soak gelatin leaves and hydrate kuzu Starch. Place the corn juice in a pan and gently heat while stirring with a spatula, watch as the juice begins to thicken and stop from catching on the bottom of the pan, when you have the texture of thick cream, mount the butter into the corn puree, add kuzu starch and cook for a further 2 minutes while still stirring. To finish add in gelatin and mix till melted. Cool over ice bath. Once cool whisk to a smooth puree and pass to remove any lumps, season with lime zest, and salt. Add just a little limejuice, to have a sauce similar in texture and flavor as aioli.


Popcorn Crumb

Cut the crust off of the rye bread and slice thinly, dry in a dehydrator overnight. Once dry, blend to a fine crumb. Blend the popcorn to a similar texture. Reserve


To Crumb Oxtail

Make a slurry of cornstarch and finely ground polenta, crumb fingers of oxtail in popcorn crumbs.


Deep fry Fingers of Oxtail in oil at 180c until crisp and brown, making sure the meat is warm in the center.

Pipe corn mix on top of the fingers and place a little of the finely dice pickles on top, shave Pynegana Cheddar over the top and serve.

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


This year, we held our awards night on Monday 14 August on the iconic sands of Noosa beach, on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast – as a BBQ Beach Party, catered by Australia’s best young chefs using the best Queensland produce, under the glittering stars of Noosa.

We showcased & celebrated the quality, diversity and unique talent of the next generation of Australian hospitality leaders – our national finalists. Each of these 17 individuals are an integral part of the future whom will be driving and contributing to the Australian culinary landscape. As part of the future, it’s important to support and look after the next generation – no matter what stage they are in their career. Not only in our businesses, but through mentoring, management and thinking ensuring a network of people they can turn to both professionally & personally. This is part of the ethos that the program creates for all of our alumni, which is our community. A community made up of industry people that the next generation can tap into for career advice, support and personal help.

It’s an important award for the young food scene, offering support for the development of new talent, the chance to make contacts across the industry and to celebrate the next generation of industry talent.  Across a number of weeks young chefs take part in cooking exercises (including mystery box challenges), young waiters demonstrate their service and knowledge skills, and young restaurateurs are quizzed on every aspect of their business. To make the finals is no mean feat and these really are the faces to watch across the industry, with winners recognised as the next generation of industry leaders who will be changing the culinary landscape.

Each and every one of our national finalists are talented in their own right and should take a bow! The overall winners to be celebrated are:

  • Electrolux Australian Young Restaurateur 2017:  Thi Le, Anchovy VIC
  • Electrolux Australian Young Waiter 2017: Andrew Gale, Grossi Florentino VIC
  • Electrolux Australian Young Waiter (Dual) Runners Up 2017: George Papaioannou, Sixpenny NSW & James Boden, St Hugo SA
  • Electrolux Australian Young Chef 2017: Shui Ishizaka, Bennelong NSW
  • Electrolux Australian Young Chef Runner Up 2017: Alanna Sapwell, Saint Peter NSW
Cam O’KeefeDan MossErinn JordanThi Le (Winner)
CENTRA, VICTerroir Aubrun, SAThe CatBird Seat, QLDAnchovy, VIC
Erinn 005Thi Le Anchovy 004
Andrew Gale, WinnerGeorge Papaioannou (Runner Up)James Boden (Runner Up)Lara Graham
Grossi Florentino, VICSixpenny, NSWSt Hugo, SAWasabi Restaurant & Bar, QLD
Andrew Gale 004GEORGE PAPAIOANNOU 001James Boden 004Lara Graham 004
Mia McIntyreMorgan GolledgeRichard Trezzi
e’cco bistro QLDBlackbird Restaurant & Bar QLDOtto, NSW
Mia McIntyre 001Morgan Golledge 001Richard Trezzi 003BLANK
Adrian Hart Alanna Sapwell (Runner Up)Ben McShaneCharley Snadden-Wilson
Bennelong NSWSaint Peter NSWKiyomi QLDEmbla VIC
Adrian Hart 001Alanna Sapwell 003Ben McShane 003Charly Snadden-Wilson 003

Josh RaineShui Ishizaka (Winner)
Urbane QLDBennelong NSW
Josh Raine 003BLANKBLANK


Congratulations to all of our national finalists for being exceptional people and we look forward to see them grow in the future.