We have put everything (dates, tips, documents) in one handy place. Useful tips and suggestions from some of our past young chefs, download documents for your application and some answers to frequently asked questions. Be sure to read through the tips carefully as they may just give you the edge you need when it comes to preparing an application that gets you noticed.

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 2 years
  • are currently working in an establishment that holds a liquor licence
  • have completed and hold the nationally recognised qualification of Certificate III in Hospitality – Commercial Cookery, OR have worked full time as a chef for a minimum of 2 years with a written & signed reference from their current employer stating your position and length of employment
  • 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

I don’t feel that I am 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 two or more years 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.

10 top tips from past young chefs

Start by reading the application carefully and thinking about your answers. An important point to note is that the judges must be able to easily see that your application is well-rounded and certainly well-thought through. By taking the time to devise your menu and recipes, ensuring that your food philosophy and innovative thinking really shine through – your application will stand a much greater chance of standing out amongst the others.

The recipes need to work on paper. They should inspire the judges to want to see you bring them to life, and they should ultimately want to taste them. The judges are looking for simplicity and attention to detail; a clear, well thought-out recipe with a clear (not blurry) image helps them to be able to picture your dish at each stage of the process and on the plate. Therefore, we suggest that you don’t underestimate that the menu and recipes you provide at this stage are really important – the more thought given to each, the better your chances!


  1. Read the application form

It sounds obvious, but reading the application form from start to finish will ensure you understand all the requirements. “Make sure you read it a couple of times,” recommends Hajime Horiguchi, Sushi Minamishima. This gives you the time to think about everything you want to say about your philosophy on food & cooking as well as your recipes.


  1. Ask for advice

Find a mentor, run it past your mum, dad, talk to your head chef or find one of our past finalists to talk to. Understand that there are people to support you if you have any questions. “Take your time and get as many people as you can to proof read it. Every opinion matters says George Tomlin, The Town Mouse 


  1. 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. “Keep it short and to the point,” suggests Peter Kelly, Urbane Restaurant.


  1. Be consistent

Your application form should reflect what you truly believe. “Anything you put down will be referenced when you speak to the judges and when you cook, so your food philosophy must be consistent with what you do,” says  Jacob Davey, Young Chef, est Restaurant.  Plus, “you’ll probably be really nervous in the interviews and your application will almost be as important in portraying who you are as a person” says Hanz Gueco, Pei Modern Sydney


  1. Think seasonally

You’ll need to create a seasonal menu as part of your application, so make sure you know what’s in season rather than guessing or what you think might be seasonal. “Use produce that is in its peak during autumn as you’ll get the best flavour from that ingredient. Don’t try to come up with it in an hour,” says Jake Kellie, The Commoner


  1. Keep it simple

When creating your seasonal menu, remember that you may need to produce it under pressure. “Keep it simple, but still demonstrate knowledge of flavour combinations, ingredients and technique,” says Soren Lascelles, Grand Hyatt Singapore “It should be simple enough that you are in control if you do make the cook-off.”


  1. Practise your dish

You need to make sure that the flavours and your dish work as ninety minutes goes really quickly in a different kitchen. Remember, the judges are chefs too, so you want to make sure it works, “Make sure what you come up with is achievable within the allotted time, get as many people to try it as possible,” says  Jacob Davey, est Restaurant.


  1. Have a plan

Preparation is key when it comes to the cook-off, so go in with a clear idea of what you need to do. “Trial your dish in the allocated time frame to make sure you are well prepared. It’s good to have a work flow in front of you while working,” says Jake Kellie, The Commoner. “Have an idea of how your plate should look, as the judges will be watching you.” Says Victor Liong, Lee Ho Fook


  1. Be confident

Even if you don’t feel it, don’t second guess yourself, but be adaptable. Victor Liong, Lee Ho Fook says, “if it doesn’t go your way, your Plan B is your Plan A.” More importantly, remember what you do know, techniques, ingredients and how to work in a kitchen. Focus on what you know, be yourself and speak from your heart


  1. Don’t give up

Just doing the application can help you think about where you want to be and how to get there, “everybody should give it a ago cause you’ll learn so much about yourself”, says Hanz Gueco, Pei Modern. Didn’t make the finals last year? Try again this year. 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, Muse Restaurant.

document templates for my application

the dates

please find below the dates for young chefs:

Sun 12-Ap-15:
applications close at 11:59pm
Thur 14-Apr-15:
from this date, young chefs contacted regarding their application selection.Approx 5 to 8 chefs per state will be selected
Mon 22 or Tue 23-Jun:
state judging: we will fly you to Sydney (if outside of NSW) the night before. we will let you know which state is cooking on what day at least 2 weeks prior. the juding panel will select approx 2-3 young chefs as state finalists to participate in the next cook off.
Sun 28-Jun-15:
state finalists are flown to Sydney (if outside of NSW) early afternoon for your professional portrait and in preparation for the cook off on Mon 29-Jun-15
Mon 29-Jun-15:
national judging all the state finalists participate in a cook off in a commercial kitchen at Ultimo Institute, Sydney followed by individual interviews. 6 to 7 young chefs are selected as national finalists to participate in the final cook
Tue 30-Jun-15:
final judging: the 6 to 7 chefs selected as national finalists will participate in the final cook off and individual interviews. The outcome of this day is announced at the awards presentation on 10 August
Sun 12 to Sun 19-Jul-15:
All national finalists will be flown to a food & wine region within Australia the morning of Sunday 12 July to attend the compulsory produce tour
Sunday 09-Aug-15:
All national finalists will need to be available on Sunday day to prepare for an event
Monday 10-Aug-15:
national finalists attend the Electrolux Australian Young Chef; Electrolux Australian Young Waiter; and, Electrolux Australian Young Restaurateur awards night announcement and presentation. This night you will be introduced to the 350 guests consisting of our judges, other industry members, food and lifestyle media, our partners and their guests

If you are chosen as the Electrolux Australian Young Chef 2015 you will need to be available on the following dates for potential events in 2016

  • Mid June 2016 to Mid July 2016 : participate in a culinary experience in Italy, partake in an educational tour of the Sanpellegrino and Acqua Panna springs in Italy; and conduct a stage at a restaurant in Europe
  • Two Australian events – date TBC: Plenty of notice will be given to allow the necessary co-ordination with your employer

does presentation matter?

the content contained within your application (menu and recipe included) 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.

menu photography: does this need to be professional?

no. You can use your mobile phone or a digital camera etc, but please remember the dish must be able to be clearly seen. Blurred images or images without enough light will not be accepted. Remember – this is to show the judges your dishes, the ingredients in their finished state: and to show how you envisage your final product. Please see the examples in the application form

why are there produce and time restrictions?

the produce and time restrictions are there for numerous reasons; one of the main being to provide an equal parameter/platform for all participants to work within. The judges cannot reiterate enough that this is an opportunity to show skills and creativity through your own food. Remember, creativity is not necessarily about complexity.

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. As a finalist you will need to have 1 day/1 night leave from work for state finalist judging. Chefs from all states 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 2013 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 20 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
  • finalist: if your application is selected, you will be required for approximately 1 day/1 night judging in Sydney to select 2-3 state finalists
  • 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 for a minimum of one week in June/July 2016 and dates (TBC) in 2016 for appearances
  • winner: You will be required for up to four weeks in June/July 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 we send copies of our certificate III, employers doc, passport etc?

scan a copy or take a photo of your Certificate III, drivers licence and passport 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: YC (your first name and last name) ie. YC JohnSmith


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