Test Young Chef Page

Appetite for excellence is Australia’s only national hospitality awards program that recognises and awards talented chefs, waiters and restaurateurs who are the next generation of industry leaders. we aim to inspire young culinary talent by providing the opportunity to increase skills, knowledge and networks, creating unique experiences and enviable prizes with the ultimate objective of creating a sustainable industry for young professionals and the industry alike.

Curious to know what happens, what the judges are looking for, advice from past young chefs and the dates you will need to keep free? we’ve put together some info for you about each stage below.

Stage 1: Applications & finalists selected

apply from 5 March  to 9-Apr-18

young chefs who meet the entry requirements submit their application by 11:59 pm on Sunday 10 April 2016. Once entries are closed applications are sent to the judging panel to be assessed on creativity; presentation; communication; skills and future leadership. the panel select 3 – 8 young chef applicants from each state (finalists) to move forward to participate in the state cook off.

can you enter? young chefs can apply who:

  • are 30 years of age or under as at Tuesday 07-Aug-18 – applicants must be over 18
  • are currently working professionally within the restaurant or catering industry in Australia on a full time basis or equivalent
  • 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

application selection

friday 29-Apr-16

once the judges decisions are in, we will be in contact with you on this day to let you know of their selection for each state

stage 2: state cook off for finalists

monday 16 or tuesday 17-May-16

the selected finalists will be flown to Sydney (if outside NSW) to participate in their home state cook off where they will be cooking either a dish from their seasonal menu. finalists will prepare; cook and present their dish to the judging panel and participate in individual interviews. brief feedback from the judges will be provided during your face to face interviews and professional images of each dish will be taken and provided to you. the judging panel will select 2-3  young chefs (state finalists) to participate in the national cook off. different states cook off on different days which will be determined upon finalists selection

stage 3: national cook off for state finalists

national judging: 05-Jun-16 & 06-Jun-16

portrait photography and young chef briefing: 05-Jun-16

state finalists are flown to Sydney (if outside NSW) on Sunday to participate in a portrait and group photography session. there will be an industry meet & greet; welcome dinner and briefing hosted by Appetite for Excellence.

national cook off: monday 06-Jun-16

state finalists  participate in the national cook off where they will be cooking from a mystery box of ingredients or from their own seasonal menu. the finalists will prepare; cook and present their dishes to the judging panel and participate in individual interviews. brief feedback from the judges will be provided during your face to face interviews and professional images of each dish will be taken and provided to you. the judging panel will select 6-7 young chefs (national finalists) to participate in the final cook off.   

stage 4: final cook off for national finalists

final cook off: 07-Jun-16

national finalists will participate in the final cook off where they will be cooking from a pantry of mystery ingredients. the national finalists will prepare; cook and present their dishes to the judging panel and participate in individual interviews. the judges will be observing you at various intervals to evaluate you on a number of different areas. brief feedback from the judges will be provided during your individual interviews and professional images of each dish will be taken and provided to you. the judging panel will select one young chef of the year, one runner up and one highly commended, to be announced at the awards event in August.

stage 5: national finalists

produce tour: 03 – 10-Jul-16

all national finalists participate in an all-expenses paid produce tour of one of Australia’s leading food and wine region to meet and learn from some Australia’s world renowned dairy, seafood, meat, horticulture and viticulture producers. This is made possible with support from partners such as Porkstar, Dairy Australia, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and Rare Medium

national finalists dinner: 07-Aug-16

all of the young chef national finalists will be featured at a pop up event organised by Appetite for Excellence where the spotlight shines on the young talent unearthed this year. Cooking as a collaborative group, they will be joined by the young waiters and restaurateurs.

awards announcement: 08-Aug-16

Young Chef of the Year 2016 will be announced at a star studded event to be held in Sydney on the 8th August 2016. attended by 350 industry heavyweights; appetite for excellence alumni; local & national media, our partners and their guests, the awards event is designed to showcase the talents of all our national finalists as well as announcing the young chef, young waiter and young restaurateur of the year.

september/october 2016

all of our applicants are invited to participate in skills workshops held in each state in either september or october. these workshops consist of either sensory analysis, butchery classes or wine/spirit workshops

stage 6:Australian  young chef of the year prize trip: 2017

as part of their prize, young chef of the year has an incredible trip visiting several regions in Italy over a 2 week period and put together by Sanpellegrino, Electrolux & Appetite for Excellence. From visiting Italy’s international culinary school ALMA to learn more about Italian cuisine, staging at Michelin star restaurants of your choice in Europe, seeing the intricacies of how kitchen equipment is made with flights provided by Virgin Australia. Click here for 2014 George Tomlins experience and keep your eyes out for Jake Kellie’s trip too!


still not sure & would like to hear what other young chefs suggest? 

if you aren’t sure if it’s for you, take a look at some reasons about how we might be able to help you.  if you’ve never done something like this before,  it might help to know that we don’t think of ourselves as a competition – more like a scholarship – and a friendly one! we think the best thing to do is to chat with one of our past young chefs face to face but if that seems daunting, then there is some advice and tips we have gathered from some of them ….check 10 top tips from our young chefs here.

if you would like to chat with one of our past young chefs, check out whose been involved to see if you know someone to talk to; or, better yet, contact Phee or Lyndsey in the office let them know what state you live in and they can put you in contact with one of the alumni.

what the judges are looking for?

utlimately the programme is here to provide a helping hand to young talent. our judges assess you on your application communication, skills, creativity and overall presentation. they are looking for:

  • future leaders of Australia: young chefs who show passion, integrity and commitment to their profession;
  • cooking skills and techniques: which include use of ingredients, flavour, texture and presentation
  • creativity shown through your menu – don’t forget, creativity doesn’t necessarily mean complexity
  • how all of this is communicated

read what Luke Mangan has said the panel are looking for

have more questions?

check out our FAQ’s here or give the office a call – we are always happy to help!



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