stay updated

resources – young waiter

we’ve put everything in one handy place. Find out tips from past waiters, if you can enter, download the documents you need for your application, and read the frequently asked questions.

If you don’t think that entering is something for you, perhaps take part by looking at the application form to get you thinking about where you would like to head in your career. A number of past young waiters have said that this helped them to think about their career goals and plan for their future.  Also, our judging panel is very supportive and would like to encourage you to succeed as much as you.

what is appetite for excellence?

we are a national awards program created to assist young hospitality professionals through mentoring, educational experiences and career opportunities. Our judges assess you on your applications, skills, creativity and overall presentation. Whilst the program is based primarily on skills, it has a scholarship focus where every level of entry becomes involved in our educational workshops or events. It allows you to challenge yourself, create a professional peer to peer network nationwide and open career doors.

all of the judges involved in the program have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and are involved in the program as they wish to see young professionals succeed in their careers and the industry.

can I enter

yes, if you are:

    • are 30 years of age or under as at Tuesday 11-Aug-15 – you must be over 18
    • are currently working professionally within the restaurant or catering industry in Australia on a full time basis or equivalent for a minimum of 18 months
    • are currently working in an establishment that holds a liquor licence
    • have completed and hold the nationally recognised Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate (RSA)
    • are not the owner, or part owner of a restaurant/hospitality business
    • are not a hospitality trainer/teacher on a casual, part time or full time basis
    • are an Australian Citizen or permanent resident

top 10 tips from past young waiters

1. Do a draft
Think about your answers before you submit your application. “Start writing your answers as early as possible and then keep revisiting them,” says Mitchell Jones, 2013 Young Waiter National Finalist. “With more reflection comes a more considered and deeper response.”

2. Ask others
Not sure what your strengths are? Speak to those who know you best. “For me, talking with the owners of the restaurant I work at gave me more confidence and clarity in my answers,” says Alexander Tuckett, 2012 Young Waiter Runner Up.

3. Be honest
By all means big yourself up, but remember you’ll need to be able to back it up when sitting in front of the panel. “Don’t pretend to be more than you are,” says Hugh Holland, 2013 Young Waiter National Finalist. “Humility is more admirable than arrogance.”
4. Use spell check
Spelling errors and bad grammar look sloppy, so make sure you check your application form thoroughly. Get someone else to read it, too. Chances are, if they don’t know what you’re talking about, neither will our judges.

5. Give yourself time
The application form is your chance to make an impression on some of the industry’s most influential people, so don’t leave it to the last minute. “Read it through first so you can anticipate how long it will take to fill in,” says Joshua Smith, 2010 Young Waiter Runner Up.

6. Do your homework
If you’re lucky enough to be selected as a national finalist, you’ll take part in knowledge assessments and blind food and wine tasting… “ view this as a chance to gain more knowledge recommends James Audas, 2012 Young Waiter Winner.

7. Trust your instincts
Participating in blind food and wine tasting at the national finals can be daunting, so be confident in your skills and knowledge. “Go with your gut,” says Danielle Doffay, 2013 Young Waiter National Finalist. “Your first answer was probably the right one.”

8. Know your industry
All national finalists have an informal interview with the judging panel, so this is your chance to really impress. Be aware of the latest trends, techniques and challenges in the industry. “Study the terminology and trends being used on menus in Melbourne and Sydney at the moment,” says Joshua Smith, 2010 Young Waiter Runner Up.

9. Be yourself
When it comes to the judges, most past finalists agree that the trick is to be natural, friendly and confident. “Don’t freak out! The judges are not scary, they’re really quite nice and they’re there to support and guide,” says Mitchell Jones, 2013 Young Waiter National Finalist. “They want you to succeed as much as you do.”

10. Don’t give up
A number of our finalists and winners were successful on their second, or even third, attempt. “Have a go – there is nothing to lose,” says Francis Fawkner, 2013 Young Chef National Finalist.

I don’t feel that I'm ready. if I enter this year and am not successful, can I enter again?

if you have been working full time in the industry for 18 months or more and are passionate about your job, we feel that partaking in a program such as this will do nothing but help you strengthen your skills. Some of our previous winners and finalists have entered a few times before being selected as a national finalist. This is a good opportunity to challenge yourself and think about what you want out of your career, your goals and philosophies. We will be sending some brief feedback from the judging panel to each applicant who is not selected as a finalist.

document templates for my application

download the confirmation document from your employer that they know you are entering. Waiter_EmployerDocument_2015

does presentation matter?

the content contained within your application is the part the judges will concentrate on as this reflects who you are as a chef, your philosophies, skills and how your present yourself. An application where you have thought about your answers, and has correct spelling and grammar, will always stand out. After all, that is what you hope to do – be well presented and stand out from the crowd. It is advisable to ask a friend or employer to read your application prior to submission. Make sure to read the top tips too.

portrait photography: does this need to be professional?

no. You can ask a friend or staff member to take a digital photo of you. Your portrait photo needs to be from the waist up, in your uniform and in your place of work. We also ask that it is taken with enough light so that we are able to see you clearly.

do I get feedback from the judges if I’m not selected as a finalist/state finalist?

yes. Every applicant that is not selected as a finalist or state finalist will receive brief feedback from the judges. We hope that this will provide you with a little bit of guidance for your career and encourage you to come back the following year with refreshed determination to succeed!

why do you want to know my employers social media details?

we are here to try and support the industry as a whole and offer experiences and opportunities that you would not otherwise have access to. This also includes trying to gain more exposure for your employers business’ to be involved in the program by acknowledging your place of employment/restaurant. A few of these include:
as a state finalist

  • your profile & your employers business feature on our website with a direct link to their restaurant website
  • you & your employers business will be announced in our press releases to all state & national media
  • we engage with you & your employers place of business through our social media communications platforms
  • we invite you to participate in our educational workshops

as a national finalist

  • you & your employers business will be announced in our press releases to national media
  • you & your employers business will be announced in our press releases to state & national media
  • we engage with you & your employers place of business through our social media communications platforms
  • we can provide a press release to your employer to send out to their press contacts
  • we invite you to participate in our educational workshops
  • we invite national finalists employers to the awards night on Monday 10 August so they can participate in industry networking on a national scale

my employer is worried about the time I’ll be away if I’m successful…

the program is designed to fit around the quieter months in hospitality as we are extremely conscious of both your time and your employers staffing requirements in your absence. your time away from work will, of course, depend on the extent of your involvement in the program. Those who have been selected as a state finalist will need to have 2-3 days leave from work. If you become a national finalist we estimate that you will need 8-10 days leave from work to participate (if you are a runner-up or winner, prize dates for 2016 will be released later in the program).
please refer to the application form, terms and conditions or program overview for exact dates. We provide you with sufficient lead time to be able to arrange these dates with your employer, so you are able to get the most out of your involvement in the program.

  • the application: it will probably take approximately 8 hours to complete your application depending on how much you can do at any one time. We recommend that you write a draft of your application answers, then a week later look at the answers again to finalise them
  • state finalist: if selected as a state finalist, you will be required for judging and events spanning approximately 2-3 days (all states) in Sydney
  • national finalist: if selected as a national finalist, you will be required for mandatory judging/ events for approximately 8-9 days in total (includes produce tour and the awards evening
  • runner up: You will be required early in 2016 for a visit to an Australian winery and dates (TBC) in 2016 for appearances
  • winner: You will be required for up to four weeks in March/April 2016 and dates (TBC) in 2016 for appearances

to get a better overview of the different stages of the program, please read the 2015 dates

i don’t have a computer and i’m not very good at using them...

if you don’t have a computer, perhaps you know someone that can help you? Your friend, girl/boyfriend, family member, boss or colleague. if you are using different computers or devices (tablet etc) why don’t you download ‘dropbox’ onto your mobile phone, computer or tablet. you can store images and/or documents here and access them from either your phone or any computer by signing in. Otherwise, make sure that you have a USB key (memory stick) with all your documents and/or images on file to upload if using a friend or works computer. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to ask for any advice – we are here to help!

how do I send copies of my passport, RSA, employers doc etc?

scan a copy or take a photo of your RSA, passport (or drivers licence if you don’t have a passport) and employer documents as individual documents or images. You can use your mobile or digital camera for photo’s. Each of these copies will need to be uploaded onto the website. If taking photo’s you need to make sure that the wording on each one is visible, able to be read and is not out of focus.

I don’t have a scanner…?

if you don’t have access to a scanner at work, you can use your mobile phone or digital camera to take an image of all documents. However, you will need to make sure that all wording for each document can be read easily, is not out of focus and has enough light. If you can’t read it, neither can we. Please make sure you take notice of the file size – no more than 5MB for each one!

why do I need to supply a copy of my passport?

to prove that a) you are an Australian resident or citizen; b) your date of birth & c) that you are who you say you are!

what does it cost to enter?

there is a one off application fee of $49.00 per application. Only one application per person will be accepted.

how can I pay?

via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) direct into our bank account
Bank: ANZ
Account Name: Young Chef of the Year Pty Ltd
BSB: 012-010
Account Number: 200 425 409
Please quote as a reference ie: YW (your first name and last name) ie. YW JohnSmith