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





Burning Brightly: The Aussie Chef Lighting Up Singapore

article by Dominic Rolfe

From the moment he got behind a pizza oven in a family-run Italian restaurant in Perths City Beach, David Pynt wanted to open his own restaurant. But it was during five unforgiving months at a London pop-up in a railway arch during the 2012 summer that he knew he had to make the dream a reality. If only to get four straight hours of sleep.

“It was great but everything about that pop-up was tough,” says Pynt who had previously done stints at world-beaters Noma, Asador Etxebarri and St John, “We were open three days but I was still working seven. We set up and packed down every day. And because it was London the deliveries would come through at 2am. So Id have to get out of bed, jump on my bike, let them in, put the stuff away and go back to bed for a couple of hours. After that, I understood how good it would be to have a permanent restaurant.”

Today, Pynt is still working six or seven days a week but hes now cheffing at his own place – a fiery bolthole called Burnt Ends in Singapores Chinatown that opened in 2013. As well as the crowds, the plaudits are rolling in. The “Modern Australian Barbecue” restaurant that the 32 year old co-owns with Andre Chiang and Loh Lik Peng (The Old Clare) was recently ranked 14 on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant awards by Sanpellegrino and it was one of Zagats 2014 “10 hottest restaurants in the world”. Hes also made the pages of newspapers from the New York Times and The Straits Times to The Australian and is in demand for food events across the globe.

But while the attention and international gongs are good to have, Pynt is happiest when the guests leave smiling. “This is the kind of food that I like cooking, the kind of food I like to eat and I hope other people enjoy it,” says Pynt, “Of course the awards are great, but the biggest success Im measured by is happy customers. You could put on what you think is the best or most creative dish in the world but if your customers arent happy, your business isnt worth anything.”

(Incidentally, he was momentarily successful in getting better sleep but thats evaporated with the recent arrival of his first child. “Id never get forgiven for not getting up to her now,” he laughs, “My partner would say, “You used to get up for a quail delivery at 2am and now you wont get up for your screaming daughter?”)

As well turning out food he likes to eat, Burnt Ends has also allowed Pynt the freedom to cook food the way he wants. Put simply: cooking with wood. It’s a technique born of his father’s love of a wood-fired barbecue and something that would have a profound effect on Pynt’s palate. “When you grow up eating food cooked on wood,” he says, “and then taste the same food cooked on gas in a commercial kitchen, you get the feeling something’s missing. I don’t know why, and you can’t get that flavour over charcoal either, but there’s a ‘magic’ that comes from cooking with wood. That’s why now my core set of equipment is the four ton, dual cavity, wood burning oven with elevation grills.”

Cooking is a business that Pynt admits he mostly fell into. After washing dishes at the Italian restaurant through high school, he filled in for a sick apprentice one evening and was hooked. He enjoyed the learning aspect – “Can you cut a veggie, can you work quickly, can you make a sauce?” – but it was when the pressure ramped up that he felt most at home.

“I loved that intense period of service,” he says, “and I still do. Im a pretty high energy, intense individual. I was never good enough to be an athlete or footy player and the kitchen is the next closest thing you can get to being out there on game day.”

One of his biggest lessons came when he moved to Balthazar, a buzzing, top notch wine bar and bistro in Perth. He put in long hours and followed orders perfectly until the chef pulled him aside and upbraided him. “He said, ‘Mate, youre not at high school, show some initiative, some interest. Go and buy some books, some knives, eat out at good restaurants. Were not going to spoon-feed you,” says Pynt, “That moment turned me around and is a big part of what I push onto my guys now. Its about helping yourself generate the interest and passion for different parts of the industry.”

 That passion then took him to Tetsuyas, where he worked with Sepias Martin Benn, who he says is one of the best chefs he has ever worked for. “The way he runs a restaurant is insanely good,” says Pynt, “The standards he sets, how good he was with everyone in the kitchen and the control he had over the food that was coming out was incredible.”

In 2010, he headed to Noma for four months, then to Etxebarri and on to St John in London. In 2011, he started working with Nuno Mendes, then head chef of Viajante and now Chiltern St. Fire House before running that sleep-killing “Burnt Enz” pop-up in London, with Pynt working almost exclusively on the grill. During a six-month vacation in South America after the pop-up closed down, he got the call about opening a place in Singapore. Mendes had mentioned Pynt to Peng, when Peng talked about opening a barbecue restaurant in the city-state.

Despite the sum of Pynts Singapore knowledge coming from transiting through the airport as a child, he didnt hesitate. “Its all about positioning yourself to be in the right place at the right time,” says Pynt, “From the start, if an opportunity came up to work with a good chef, I always took it, paid or unpaid. I wanted to work, see new ideas, experience new creativity, meet new people. And, to a certain degree, youre always networking. So when this came up, I jumped at it.”

And while the experience hasnt come without a few scars – Pynt still bristles at the memory of one of Burnt Endsfirst lunch services where not a single customer showed up – he believes the sum of his experience to this point has played a big role in the restaurants success.

“You have to put in a huge amount of work,” he says, “and not necessarily time in the kitchen. Its reading, eating, drinking, talking, just absorbing everything that the industry has to offer and developing your own view on it. Then you translate that into a restaurant business.

 “The restaurant game isnt like a gas oven where you just turn it on and away you go. Its more like a wood oven, where you get in a bit earlier, prepare the fire, light the fire, manage it so it comes up to temperature then make sure its all in line and firing at full intensity during service. It’s a place where youre constantly learning and evolving.”


Pynt on Noma: “Its all about time and place, what produce is in that place at that time that is incredible. The biggest thing I took from there was the energy, the drive and the dedication that Rene commanded. You wouldnt get that anywhere else in the world.”

On Extebarri: “Until I got there, I never thought you could cook on wood on a barbecue at a good restaurant. And the handling and quality of the produce that he selected was the best in the world.”

On St John: “St Johns is purely about cooking tasty food and cooking it really well. The skill level in the way that they cooked was insane. And the flavour and how tasty is was – its all about tasty, tasty, tasty!”


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

Electrolux Appetite for Excellence National Finalists Announced

Over the last few weeks young waiters and chefs from around the country flew to Sydney to participate in some unique challenges. Each of these individuals deserves to be recognised, not only for putting themselves forward but also for seizing an opportunity to increase their skills, knowledge and networks. The state finalists had a few dinners, some drinks and made some great contacts already. But after some careful consideration after different evaluation, each of our panels have selected the following professionals as this years national finalists.

Electrolux Australian Young Waiter national finalists

Alice Chugg
Ethos Eat Drink
Brooke Adey
Chianti Classico
South Australia
Gerald Ryan
Jasmine Wakely
The Commoner
Lauren Spyrou
Bistro Guillaume
Shanteh Wong
New South Wales

Electrolux Australian Young Chef National Finalists

Adrian Walker
Magill Estate
South Australia
Dale Sutton
momofuku seiobo
New South Wales
Emma Barnes
Clarke’s of North Beach
Western Australia
George Tomlin
The Town Mouse
Hanz Gueco
Café Paci
New South Wales
Jake Kellie
The Commoner
Simon Tarlington
New South Wales

Electrolux Australian Young Restaurateur National Finalists

Anna Pavoni
Ormeggio at The Spit
New South Wales
Chris Thornton
Restaurant Mason
New South Wales
Matthew Dempsey
Troy Rhoades-Brown
New South Wales