Electrolux Australian Young Chef state finalists announced

Firstly, we would like to acknowledge every chef who entered this year, followed by those that came to Sydney to cook and meet our judges over the last two days. It was an absolute pleasure to meet the finalists – all of whom have a wonderful outlook, are individually talented and passionately committed to their careers. The standard was incredibly high and exciting to see the breadth of talent from around the country.

After reviewing all of the dishes, meeting with all of the chefs to learn more about them, our judges have made their selections below. Click on their names to read and learn more about them!

2016 electrolux australian young chef state finalists

Aaron Ward Sixpenny nsw
Braden White The Apo qld
Cameron Jones Red Cabbage Food + Wine wa
Chris Howard The Freycinet Lodge tas
Jordan Monkhouse Aria Brisbane qld
Liz Edney One Penny Red nsw
Mal Meiers Fatto Bar & Cantina vic
Nick Gannaway The Bridge Room nsw
Phillip Roberts Eschalot Restaurant nsw
Shayne Mansfield The Long Apron qld
Thiago Miranda Church Street Enoteca vic
Troy Crisante Bennelong Restaurant nsw
Zackary Furst IDES vic


culinary talent announced for 2016

After a month of deliberations, we are excited to announce the results. The selected young culinary talent have had their applications reviewed and now face a series of skills testing and interviews with the judges; Christine Manfield, Peter Gilmore, Luke Mangan, Danielle Gjestland, David Pynt, Lisa van Haandel, Guy Grossi to name but a few of the heavyweights of the Australian hospitality industry. Follow their progress here on our website,  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.

2016 electrolux australian young restaurateur national finalists

Cameron Cansdell bombini nsw
Dave Parker San Telmo & Pastuso vic
Kelvin Shaw Altair Restaurant vic


 2016 electrolux australian young waiter state finalists

Andrew Day AKIBA act
Chayse Bertoncello O.MY Restaurant vic
Dylan Labuschagne Stillwater/Black Cow Bistro tas
George Papaioannou Luxembourg Bar & Bistro vic
Imogen Clarke Restaurant Orana sa
Katrina Lee Panama Dining Room and Bar vic
Mia McIntyre Michels Restaurant qld
Morgan Golledge Blackbird Bar & Grill qld
Natasha Janetzki Blackbird Bar & Grill qld
Rory McCallum Supernormal vic


2016 electrolux australian young chef finalists

Aaron Ward Sixpenny nsw
Andre Mcloughlin The Royal Mail Hotel vic
Braden White The Apo qld
Cameron Jones Red Cabbage Food + Wine wa
Chris Howard The Freycinet Lodge tas
Cody McKavanagh Biota Dining nsw
Joanne Cross Cucina Vivo qld
Jordan Monkhouse Aria Brisbane qld
Joshua Gregory EXP Restaurant nsw
Kahwai Lo Matteo’s vic
Liz Edney One Penny Red nsw
Louise Brown Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove vic
Mal Meiers Fatto Bar & Cantina vic
Mark Glenn Dinner by Heston vic
Mathew Lee Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre qld
Matt Binney Merricote vic
Matthew Hammond Elyros Restaurant vic
Michael Conlon Blackbird Bar & Grill qld
Nichole Horvath Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio vic
Nick Gannaway The Bridge Room nsw
Phillip Roberts Eschalot Restaurant nsw
Sean Glatt Petite Mort wa
Sean Hillier Muse Restaurant nsw
Sean Townsend Muse Kitchen nsw
Shayne Mansfield The Long Apron qld
Shohei Kishishita Coast Restaurant & Bar qld
Thiago Miranda Church Street Enoteca vic
Thomas Smith Bistro Guillaume vic
Troy Crisante Bennelong Restaurant nsw
Zackary Furst IDES vic





Bianca Welsh – eat & drink insider knowledge

See where else to eat & drink around the country:

Bianca Welsh is our joint Young Restaurateur of 2015 and is co-owner of Stillwater Restaurant and Black Cow Bistro  in Launceston. Here she shares her favourite go to places in her home state of Tassie!

favourite coffee shops


Is a fantastic little place that’s serious about their coffee and little treats. They use the locally roasted Ritual which is also a favourite of mine.

Sweet brew

Another fantastic cafe which serves some great little pastries along with their coffee.

Off Center

Another small coffee haunt has opened up off one of the main streets through town. The owner is a skilled barista.


favourite eateries/cafes

Blue Café

On my days off you will find my husband and I at Blue Café religiously having breakfast, they’re lunch menu is creative with new and interesting dishes popping up often.

Cafe Mondello

A convenient walk around the corner from our house that also does great breakfasts and a slightly Italian style lunch, it’s a perfect spot to watch the world go by on the ‘cafe strip’ of Launceston.

Phoenix and the Wolf.

A great place for a little drive is at Perth about 15 minutes out of Launceston. It’s in an old church on the main drag with really tasty, innovative food, they’re sweet and salty combinations are so good!


favourite restaurants


Of course Franklin is an obvious favourite, the fit out, the food, the wine, what’s not to love?

Me Wah

We love Me Wah in Launceston for fine dining Cantonese, they do great take away too, they’re service is outstanding.


We religiously go weekly to Kai-Zen, a small Japanese restaurant in Launceston, they take great care of us and always use the freshest of seafood.

favourite bars

Saint John

Saint John is definitely our favourite, its a craft beer bar with so much more, a great whiskey list along with great wines and plenty of other spirits. They’ve just expanded their space, they’ve done an incredible job. We always feel welcome and it attracts a really great crowd.

Mona’s Long Bar

Of course who could go past Mona’s Long Bar at the basement of the museum? Where better to have a beer while taking in all the interesting and pretty crazy things.


favourite food markets/local grocers

The Harvest Market

The Harvest Market in Launceston has really changed the community in such a positive way, it won best farmers market in Australia in the Delicious awards and it is such a vibrant place to go on a Saturday morning. The range they have there is fantastic, you can grab a great coffee, breakfast and see most of your friends down there too.

Green Grocer on Charles St

The green grocer on Charles St in Launceston has the best fruit and veg around town, it’s compact but they pack in all the best.

Alps & Amici

Other than our own deli, Alps and Amici is a great place to shop for readymade meals, great local produce and a great place to pick up a sweet treat like a house made cupcake or slice.

favourite interstate restaurants

Coda/Tonka VIC

Tough one, there is so many, Coda/Tonka in Melbourne is one favourite (yes, I’m combining them, it’s cheating I know!), the food is well balance and when you want everything on the menu, you know it’s your sort of place. Gavin has always suggested the best wines to match what we’re eating and it’s just such a fun place.

Supernormal VIC

Supernormal in Melbourne is such a great restaurant. The food is just incredible, the flavours are so clean, the service is excellent and how could you not love a restaurant that has vending machines with pocky!

10 William St NSW

Our favourite of them all. We just love everything that place has to offer, the simple yet thoughtful Italian food, the wine, the atmosphere, my husband and I feel really happy when we dine there and that’s what’s important for a diner.



After a month of reviewing the young, up & coming culinary talent across Australia, we can reveal the results.  These young restaurateurs, waiters & chefs national finalists have a series of interviews & skills testing with some of Australia’s hospitality heavyweights. Judges such as Christine Manfield, Danielle Gjestland, David Thompson, Duncan Welgemoed, James Viles, Luke Mangan, Mark Best & Simon Denton to name but a few. Follow their progress on our website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feed.

Electrolux Australian Young Restaurateur National Finalists

click on the headline to see their profiles

Bianca Welsh: Stillwater Restaurant & Black Cow Bistro, Tasmania
Chris Thornton: Restaurant Mason, New South Wales
Dan Moss: Terroir Auburn, South Australia
Joel Best: Bondi’s Best, New South Wales
Kim Galea: Pitchfork Restaurant, Queensland

Electrolux Australian young waiter state finalists

Brooke Adey: Bentley Restaurant & Bar, New South Wales
Courtney Nichols: The Balfour Kitchen, Queensland
Elizabeth Thomas: Supernormal, Victoria
Jessica Thorley: Biota Dining,New South Wales
Louise NaimoEstelle Bistro, Victoria
Nikki FriedliAfricola, South Australia
Robert LuoOscillate Wildly, New South Wales

Electrolux Australian young chef finalists

Aaron Starling: Bistro Guillaume,Victoria
Ben McShane: Kiyomi, Queensland
Jake Kellie: Estelle Bistro, Victoria
Jordan McLeod: Set Piece, New South Wales
Joshua Gregory: Biota Dining, New South Wales
Khahn Nguyen: Mr Wong, New South Wales
Matt  Binney: Merricote, Victoria

Stoney Rise – not your average winemaker

Written by Lilani Goonesena.

It’s not every day that you get to pass an afternoon with one of Australia’s top winemakers. And to drink his wine, have a laugh and grill him on why it’s so damn good. But that was our lot on the third day of our Electrolux Appetite for Excellence produce tour in the beautiful Tamar Valley.

Stoney Rise winery is home to Joe and his wife Lou’s four-hectare vineyard, three quarters of which is Pinot Noir. Along with Chardonnay, they also grow an unusual Austrian grape called Grüner Veltliner.

It was truly a privilege to meet Joe Holyman, named one of Australia’s best Pinot winemakers. Indeed his passion for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is possibly only exceeded by his detestation for Cabernet Sauvignon.

“Every Cabernet vine in the world should be destroyed”.

Yes, he really said that.

But we can’t hold it against him because the grapes he does love he makes extremely well. And they are certainly made with love, and not much else. Joe’s philosophy is to be easy on the earth. He doesn’t use chemicals or herbicides on the soil or add anything to the wine besides sulphur. Stoney Rise is known for not manipulating its wines in any way.

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Between harvests, the soil is treated with a very natural fertiliser – sheep poo. “We just had 112 sheep here; we kept them in till they start escaping. I borrow them from a nearby farmer and give him a case of wine each year and pay for the transport. We put a temporary fence up and while there’s food, they’ll stay”, he said.

Joe is a stickler for equal treatment. “We treat the vineyard the same way every year”, he said. “Pinot Noir grows in very small bunches generally. A tiny bunch off the side of the main bunch that never quite ripens at the same time is cut off religiously every year. A shoot in our vineyard never has more than two bunches on it”.

Picking is based on seed and stalk colour. “We don’t do analysis on the fruit. The seed colour tells the birds when to start eating them which is nature’s way”, explained Joe. “We only use eight pickers and they’ve been here since I have. All the sorting happens out in the vineyard”.

Again in the winery, all the grapes go through the same process, including the small amount bought from around the Tamar for the Stoney Rise wines. “We treat all the fruit the same way, whether we’ve grown them or not”, he said.

Joe explained that he’s neither a trained winemaker nor a scientist. “We don’t have a lab. There’s no point trying to analyse stuff because I won’t understand what it means”, he laughed.

Joe had lined up 12 bottles for us to taste. But instead of comparing vintages, as done in normal wine tastings, we tried samples from different barrels of two grapes – three Chardonnays and nine Pinot Noirs – that would later be blended to make the Stoney Rise and Holyman wines.

It was an inspired tasting highlighting how much difference terroir can make to the grape. Shanteh Wong is a sommelier from Quay in Sydney and a 2014 Highly Commended waiter. “From one plot to the next, the wines were totally different. It may just be that one has a different aspect or altitude or the soil is slightly different. It’s quite incredible”, she said.

This year Joe dropped the alcohol content by 1% and likes the results. “There is a bit more finesse and structure to the wines, they’re more natural flavours rather than potentially being cooked. Pinot can very quickly go from being Pinot to non-descript dry red wine”, he said.

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Stoney Rise
Email: info@stoneyrise.com

Relaxed cows…the key to great cheddar

Written by Lilani Goonesena.

Tucked away in the hills of northeast Tasmania is a little village called Pyengana, population 123. And quietly making its mark on the Australian dairy industry is the Pyengana Dairy Company. They produce traditional, cloth-bound cheddar – and have done so the exact same way for over a hundred years.

“We haven’t changed any style or methods of cheesemaking since the early 1900s”, said Greg Gibson, the general manager of the company. “This is a hands-on, human controlled, artisan process. It requires talent, patience and perseverance to learn the art and to perfect it”.

Four generations of the Healey family have done one thing and done it properly.

A hundred years ago cheese making was a measured and labour intensive process, taking the time to ensure quality and consistency. At Pyengana Dairy Company, it still is.

The art of making their traditional, stirred-curd cheddar is a labour of love, and a daily six-hour labour at that, for Pyengana’s two young cheese makers.

“We have the luxury of spending time with each batch and letting the curd do what it wants to do”, said James, one of the cheese makers. “Everything you see here today is done by hand. We haven’t tried to speed up the process at all”.

The ethos of quality extends into the dairy farm where old methods efficiently rub shoulders with new, state-of-the-art technology. A sophisticated robotic milking system allows Pyengana’s herd of Friesian cows to “effectively milk themselves” in a stress-free environment.

The cows come up to the milking shed only when they want to be milked. An electronic tagging system ensures that each cow is only milked to its individual capacity, about 25 litres a day.


“The greatest benefit is that our cows are milked according to their needs, not our routine, so there’s no stress on the animal”, said Greg.”

The cows are raised on a farm that is “as organic as possible” and are kept in the herd for 10-12 years. Alongside the cheddars, Pyengana’s produces ‘Real Milk’, a 100 per cent natural, non-homogenised milk for the Tasmanian market, and hand-made ice cream.

Finally, it was time to taste the famous cheddar. Darren, the shop manager, served served up six cheddars at different stages of maturation. We began with the squeaky milk curds that were barely an hour old, and followed through to a four-week old mild cheddar and a 12-month old dry crumbly Tasty cheddar.

The piece de resistance was, of course, the cloth-wrapped 18-month old vintage cheddar. Its salty, bitey flavour was both memorable and moreish.

“The cloth makes a big difference. It keeps the moisture in and helps the bacteria to work”, said Darren. “The bacteria and salt draw moisture out of the cheese. You want that, you need the fat content and the salt to work together”.

The dedication to traditional methods and exceptional quality of the dairy really resonated with the group. It came as no surprise to hear that the company has been consistently winning national awards for its cheddar since 1991, including the 2014 Champion Cheddar Cheese at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

Gerald Ryan, a sommelier at Brae in Victoria and Australian Young Waiter 2014, said “There’s a lot of elbow grease that goes into actually making Pyengana cheese and that’s why it’s such a high quality product. After seeing their old-fashioned cheese making and low impact sustainable farming, it’ll be great to sell the stories of a place like this”.


Pyengana Dairy Company
Email: shop@pyenganadairy.com.au

Innovation, the art to great wine

Written by Lilani Goonesena.

The Tamar Valley north of Launceston is yet another beautiful part of Tasmania. Brilliant blue skies and neat rows of curled brown stalks on rolling green hills stretch in every direction.

The Tamar is known for its cool climate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sparkling wines. And one of its flagship producers is the award-winning Josef Chromy Wines, the fourth largest winery in the region.

Josef Chromy is a famous figure in the Tasmania wine industry and a true self-made success story. He developed and sold many well-known wineries including Jansz, Bay of Fires, and Tamar Ridge before opening his apical winery in 2007 at age 74. Now, at age 83, he is still very much involved in the business.

Dave Milne, the sales and marketing manager showed us around the winery.

“70 per cent of wines in Tasmania are sparkling, and our location is perfect for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – the building blocks of sparkling wines”, he said. “The vineyard runs 2km down the side of a hill. The slopes allow for gentle air movement and provide a natural barrier to frost, and we’re protected on three sides by mountains”.

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Alongside Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the vineyard grows Riesling, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. One third of their grapes go to contract buyers but the rest, all handpicked, are for the three Josef Chromy labels. The entry label, Pepik, refers to Joe’s nickname in his homeland, Czechoslovakia. Zdar is the limited release label and the name of Joe’s hometown. It also means ‘success’ in English.

The state of the art winery is the most advanced in Tasmania and is designed for minimal handling. “Our equipment is very gentle with the grapes”, said Dave.

Its innovative machinery includes the Smart Plunger, co-invented by Joe, which extracts colour and flavour from the skins during fermentation, a time-intensive process normally done by hand.

The winery is also innovative in its use of lightweight, low carbon, bottles for their Pepik label, a water-recycling plant and 400 solar panels to power the winery, restaurant and cellar door.

It was fascinating to visit such a successful winery and learn about their winemaking. Hanz Gueco, a chef from Café Paci in Sydney said, “As chefs we rarely delve into the wine side, which is half of the business. I really enjoyed seeing the whole picture from barrel to bottle”.

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Josef Chromy
Email: info@josefchromy.com.au

Chloe Proud – eat & drink insider knowledge

see where else to eat & drink around the country:


Chloe Proud is one of our past Australian young restaurateur finalists and owner/operator of Ethos Eat Drink in Hobart. Here Chloe is kind enough to tell us all about her favourite places to go in and around Hobart.

favourite coffee spots

Yellow Bernard, Hobart
simply great coffee, with streamlined convenience for coffee on the run

Pilgrim Coffee, Hobart
beautiful space and totally smash-able drinks

Ecru, Hobart
little hole in the wall that do just coffee, just really well

favourite casual eateries

The Picnic Basket, Tasmania
its a nice little drive back near my primary school, so its nostalgia teamed with perfect views, coffee and house baked goodness

Ginger Brown Cafe, South Hobart
no pretension, just good food, coffee and lovely staff, no pressure to do anything more than relax and enjoy

Pigeon Hole Cafe, West Hobart
a Hobart institution that has been taken over by produce farmers- real paddock to plate food showcasing best if the Tasmanian seasons

favourite restaurants

Black Cow Bistro, Launceston TAS
always a favourite and MUST visit for Launceston: I save up my steak eating for this place

Hejos, Hobart
some of the best Szechuan I’ve ever had- tucked away in the bus mall. Their Szechuan braised cabbage is one of THOSE life changing dishes

Written on Tea, Hobart
fried french beans + chilli pork. Thats why……….

favourite bars

Nant, Tasmania
their whiskey simply rocks

The New Sydney, Hobart
pints and open fires help you through the cold months down here

The Winston, Hobart
these guys do best beers and a southern style bar menu the way it should be

favourite markets

Farmgate Market, Hobart
this market has a real community of real growers surrounding it- its part of our day off repertoire

Country Women’s Association of Australia
not technically a grocer but these ladies have you well and truly covered for fresh fruit and veg, condiments, spices, baked things etc

Sorell Markets
you have to seriously search for diamonds in a lot of rough here- but when you find treasures they are worth it. Also some of the best chutneys and preserves going around

favourite interstate restaurants

Sixpenny, Sydney
beautifully executed, honest but technically brilliant food

Brae, Victoria
these guys follow a similar premise to our own restaurant but on the next level- exceptional food/space/concept

Esquire, Brisbane
really great food using local produce, fantastic service

Say cheese – a vertical cheesing tasting with Ueli Berger

Written by Lilani Goonesena.

Imagine tasting the same cheese side by side, just at different stages in its life. That’s what we were treated to – a ‘vertical’ cheese tasting with King Island Dairy’s head cheesemaker, Ueli Berger. He brought five cheeses from King Island Dairy and Tasmanian Heritage, each at different maturation stages so we could appreciate the effects age has on the cheese.

King Island Dairy only uses its own dairy cows. “If we run out of milk, we stop making cheese”, says Ueli. “King Island has this beautiful microclimate to produce a special milk. As an island we hardly ever get frost so the grass grows all the time and the cows can be out there eating fresh grass all the time”.

Ueli also gave us some advice about choosing cheeses and the ideal ripeness at which soft cheeses should be consumed.

“The closer the cheese is to it’s best before date the closer it is to it’s optimum ripeness. Especially with the white mould cheeses, so my recommendation is to always look for cheese as close to the best before date as possible if you want to eat it straight away”.

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With cheddars, King Island Dairy has three – aged four months, 12 months and two years. Ueli says it’s important to balance the moisture content to ensure that the two-year old cheddar can last the distance.

Kind Island Dairy has two washed rind cheeses. These are rubbed with a unique brine containing brevi-bacterium linens to bring out the orangish colour on the surface and develop distinct earthy flavours in the cheese.

Altogether, it was an insightful tasting. Dale Sutton, a chef at momofuku seiobo in Sydney, said, “It was really interesting to see what mould does to a cheese. Ueli Berger’s knowledge was amazing, we learned about the process from start to end and all the little variants – the shape, size, temperature, humidity – that goes into creating a cheese”.

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About Ueli Berger:
Swiss-born Ueli Berger has an inexhaustible passion for cheesemaking which began very early in life. As the grandson of a cheesemaker and son of a dairy farmer, his European childhood provided plenty of opportunities to explore his craft.

After studying cheesemaking in Switzerland for three years, Ueli was chosen from a group of 48 cheesemakers to work for an Australian soft cheese manufacturer. In 1998, he moved to King Island to become King Island Dairy’s head cheesemaker.

With a career now spanning more than 25 years, Ueli has earned acclaim both nationally and internationally.