and it’s almost a wrap…

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2016 Appetite for Excellence National Finalists

And the awards go to….

it’s been a big year so far. We’ve created new initiatives – Appetite for Young Swines; held cook off’s & wait offs; took this years alumni on a produce tour and last month we celebrated Australia’s innovative fresh produce – our young talent – at our awards night in Sydney. The young chefs, waiters and restaurateurs that have been involved in the program this year in addition to the crowning of the Australian Young Restaurateur; Waiter and Chef 2016 at a star studded event on the 08 August 2016. We, as a program strive to inspire, nurture and celebrate young passionate hospitality professionals. As an industry, we need to support and embrace the next generation no only in our restaurants and bars but also in our conversations and thinking so that the industry can continue to thrive.  Every single professional who entered the program deserves to be congratulated for challenging themselves, being open to learning different ways of doing things as well as their own passion and commitment to their careers. We take our hats off to all of our national finalists and to the those that were awarded;

L-R: Electrolux Australian Young Waiter Andrew Day; Electrolux Australian Restaurateur Cameron Cansdell; Electrolux Australian Young Chef Aaron Ward

The winner’s for each category;

Electrolux Australian Young Waiter of the Year 2016

People’s Choice: Andrew Day

Highly Commended: Natasha Janetzki

Australian Young Waiter: Andrew Day

Electrolux Australian Young Restaurateur of the Year 2016

Australian Young Restaurateur : Cameron Cansdell

Electrolux Australian Young Chef of the Year 2016

People’s Choice: Zackary Furst

Highly Commended: Zackary Furst

Runner Up: Troy Crisante

Australian Young Chef: Aaron Ward

It’s definitely a journey

Young Waiters

it’s not only waiting tables….. waiters need to be skilled in many different areas, from talking knowledgeably about the menu and recommending wines, to making sure the customers needs and requests are catered for all with grace, poise and a bit of theatre. This also is part of our judging process where our waiters spent two full days with the judging panel taking part in many different aspects of what it takes to be a waiters. We provide a myriad of experiences, the ability to learn, be tested and show their skills.

Wayne from JOTO shared his knowledge of squid in a masterclass about the different flavour profiles, textures and how they are caught.  Beverage legends and judges Nick Hildebrandt & Simon Denton took the waiters through an interactive food and beverage masterclass where a discussion was had on the best matches. There was one-on-one interviews with judges Lisa van Haandel & Sam Christie to find out more about their careers, philosophies and future goals. Oh and the quiz like paper testing them on their service; food and beverage knowledge and practices. This was all before being put to their paces at a pop-up lunch for 100 guests where all their knowledge and service know how was put to the test! “It’s an absolutely amazing program – being surrounded by all these professionals who are at such a high level, it has really helped me to affirm why I do what I do, and why I love what I do. Learning from the judges with all that combined knowledge – whether or not you win, it’s incredibly energising to go back into the industry knowing there’s that kind of support,” Andrew Day on winning and being involved in the program.

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Young Restaurateurs

The restaurateurs had a LOT of questions put to them about their business; their vision and their roles within their business before sitting down individually with the judging panel of Lucy Allon; Christine Manfield; Peter Sullivan and Marilyn Annecchini in one-on-one interviews. The young restaurateur judges noted that “All three finalists were very strong contenders. All of them are dynamic and focused, and leading great teams and businesses. They can all be very proud of what they have achieved and should be congratulated for the role they are each playing in the industry. We look forward to seeing this year’s Young Restaurateur winner and finalists continuing to be inspiring role models for young people in the hospitality industry.”

Cameron Cansdell says “This program is all about the participation, and it’s given us an incredible foundation for our future,” he added “and to win – I’m thrilled. It’s a dream that’s come into reality.”

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Young Chefs

Since pressing submit on their application back in April, the Young Chef national finalists have cooked their way through 3 rounds of judging; spending a total of 8 hours in the kitchen cooking (this doesn’t include prep time or the interviews with the judging panel) with industry heavyweights Dave Pynt; Peter Gilmore; Mark Best; Guy Grossi; Bethany Finn; Duncan Welgemoed, Luke Mangan; Lyndey Milan;  & Troy Rhoades-Brown looking over their shoulders; asking questions as they prep; cook and plate up and what their food philosophies are. Pretty nerve wracking indeed. Aaron Ward said of his award “It was absolutely nerve-wracking until that final moment of accepting the award! But the highlight of the program has definitely been bonding with everyone [the participants] as a team, over the same passion of what we do every day.”

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But it hasn’t all been serious business – there have been laughs along the way – heading out on the produce tour was a highlight and we were very lucky to have such a great group of young people on-board the bus. 

There were a lot of laughs which we would love to share with you however you know they do say what goes on tour stays on tour… However here are some funny anecdotes and be sure to stay tuned as we will be sharing the team stories of their producer visits with you in the coming months!

‘Where’s Dave?’ after leaving without one of the guys

‘It’s not the ghosts you should be scared of’ says the bartender after hearing the group talk about the possibility of the old hotel being haunted!

‘hows that rice pudding coming along’ that never seemed to cook no matter how long it was on the bbq for…

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Hunt + Gather Dinner

The Hunt + Gather Dinner was held the night before the awards night. Guests were welcomed to the Electrolux Showcase where each table had their own waiter & chef team; their own menu created with inspiration from the produce tour and their own individual experience. It was like the young chef and waiter national finalists had invited their guests into their own home for an exclusive dinner party. The national finalists did an amazing job and a great night was had by all!

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We look forward to sharing our stories; recipes; tips and the best places to dine out in Australia over the coming months. You can keep up to date with all of the exciting things we have in store for 2017 and beyond by following our social channels Facebook and Instagram and here on our blog.

A special thanks to all of our sponsors and event partners for their continued support – Electrolux; Sanpellegrino; Virgin Australia; FRDC; Porkstar; Vics Meats; Fraser & Hughes; JOTO; Murdoch Produce; Endeavour Beer and Wine Australia. Looking forward to another great Appetite for Excellence for 2017!


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