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faq’s & answers

to make things a little easier and in case you have some questions, please find answers to FAQ’s below. There are also top tips provided by some of our previous restaurateurs too!


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 35 years of age or under as at Tuesday 09 August 2016 – applicants must be over 18
  • have owned your business under the same name for a minimum of two (2) years as at Tuesday 09 August 2016
  • have an establishment that holds a liquor licence
  • work full time within your business
  • are not a hospitality trainer/teacher on a casual, part time or full time basis
  • are an Australian Citizen or permanent resident


top tips from past restaurateurs

Some of our past Young Restaurateur winners and finalists share their top tips:

Allow plenty of 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.

Do a draft

Don’t try to complete the application in one go. Write a first draft, mull it over and chat to your friends and colleagues about your answers. “Write your application and continue to go back and re-read, get others to proof read, but enjoy the process of the reflection,” says Bianca Welsh, Stillwater Restaurant; Black Cow Bistro

Be concise

Your business is your baby, so it’s easy to get carried away on your application form. It’s important to be clear and concise when explaining your vision for your business. “Answer the questions honestly and from the heart, you may even surprise yourself at your own self evaluations,” says Chris Thornton, Restaurant Mason

Show your personality

The application form should help the judges get a feel for you as a person and as a restaurateur, so don’t just write what you think they want to read. “Make sure you and your company have a clear vision.  The judges want to know how you started, maintained and progressed your restaurant.  But they also want to know who you are, what dives you and your passion for the industry.” Says Troy Rhoades-Brown, Muse Restaurant & Muse Kitchen 

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. “Read and answer questions thoroughly,” says Kim Galea, Pitchfork Restaurant

Be confident

If you make it to the national finals, you’ll be interviewed by our judging panel of top restaurateurs. “Don’t be nervous. Remember, you’re an expert on the subject of your own business,” says Julia Paussa, Coast Restaurant

Ask questions

Appetite for Excellence puts you in touch with the industry’s key players, producers and like-minded peers, so make the most of it! Network, ask questions and share ideas and experiences. “This is a fantastic opportunity to get advice from some of the greatest restaurateurs in Australia,” says Julia Paussa,

Go on the produce tour

National finalists from all three categories go on a five-day tour of an Australian food and wine region. Taking time out from your business is tough, but you’ll get to meet and learn from passionate farmers, producers, harvesters and winemakers. “Take part in the produce tour – it’s an amazing experience,” recommends Kim Galea

Learn, collaborate, discover

You get out of it what you put in, but most importantly it’s about giving support and recognition to those whose career and profession is in hospitality. As James Viles, Biota Dining says, “Appetite for Excellence, a program meaning exactly that. It’s a wonderful initiative that not only gave me more confidence in what I do, but more importantly allowed me to learn, discover, collaborate, teach and push boundaries with a collective, a bunch of people”.


how much time will I potentially be away from my business?

your time away from your business will, of course, depend on the extent of your involvement in the program. As a national finalist you will need to have 2-3 days away from your business. If you choose to be involved in the produce tour (this is optional) we estimate you will need to plan for an additional 6-7 days (total) away from your business to participate. We provide you with sufficient lead time to be able to plan this and will work with you so that you are able to get the most out of your involvement in the program. please refer to the application form, terms and conditions or program overview for exact dates.

  • the application 10 hours: It will probably take between 10 hours in total 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, ask a family member, mentor or friend to check them and then finalise them
  • national finalist + 2-3 days (add 6 days if you join the produce tour): you will be required for mandatory interviews/events for approximately 2-3 days in total. (if you choose to participate in the produce tour, approximately 8-9 days in total)
  • young restaurateur of the year + 5-6 days: You will be required for mandatory prize events for approximately 5-6 days in total in 2017

is it beneficial to attend the produce tour?

Everyone is different, and we appreciate that taking you out of your business to attend is perhaps not really an option. However, all of the restaurateurs that have attended have found it to be beneficial being able to meet potential future suppliers, other restaurateurs on the trip and also to bond with all of the chefs and waiters as well. Those young restaurateurs that have been unable to attend, have commented that they wished they could have joined the trip as they saw the benefits that others gained from it afterwards


do I get feedback from the judges if I’m not selected?

yes. Every applicant that is not selected as a national finalist will receive a brief feedback from the judges. We hope that this will provide you with some guidance and encouragement from some other successful restaurateurs.


how important are my answers on the application & what are the judges looking for?

Very important. The content of your application is a focal part of your entry and vital for the judges to understand you and your business. Present your information in a way that best represents you, your philosophies and who you are as a professional business owner. An application where you have thought about your answers, and of which has correct spelling and grammar, will always stand out. That is after all what you hope to do – be well presented and stand out from the crowd. It is advisable to ask a friend, business partner or mentor to read your application first prior to submission

Being a restaurateur is not just about running a restaurant, it’s about running a business. Each of our judges understand this and bring a unique and diverse business acumen to the panel. Understanding that each restaurant has an individual viewpoint and vision, the panel wanted to give some inside tips about what they are looking for in your application.

the panel are looking for the following in your business profile;

  • Your vision
  • Forward thinking
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • How you are active in your community

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what do I need to complete the application?

  • answer all of the application questions, and provide the necessary documentation;
    • portrait image of yourself – this can be taken with your mobile see example
    • copy or photo of your current passport page with your name & date of birth
    • If you are not Australian, a copy or photo of citizenship or permanent residency
    • CV that includes your current role – max 2 pages
    • copy or photo of your current liquor licence
    • copy of your menu & wine/beverage list
    • copy of a recent review (optional)
    • a 1 – 2 minute video taken via your phone explaining what inspires and/or excites you about your business
  • complete each of the application questions and upload the necessary documentation by 11:59PM Thursday 31-Mar-16 AEST
  • pay an application fee of $49 per applicant for administration purposes only
  • be available on the program dates as listed here 

what about the video? why do you need it & who views it?

our panel love to see your words come to life & hear your passion for what you do and that is exactly why a video is part of the application. it only needs to be 1 – 2 minutes long, taken via your phone explaining what inspires and/or excites you about your business(es). Don’t worry, it’s not to be shared with anyone outside of the panel or made public & it only needs to be taken on your phone. It’s a pretty simple upload done in the online application form – no larger than 20MB

why do you want to know my social media details?

we are here to try and support the industry as a whole and offer experiences and opportunities that you may not have access to. This also includes trying to gain more exposure for your business on a national scale. Taking this into consideration we have set up a variety of ways for your business to be involved in the program.  A few of these include:

as an applicant

we invite your and one/two staff to participate in our educational workshops for up-skilling

as a national finalist

  • you and your business will feature on our website with a direct link to your restaurant website
  • you & your restaurant 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 connect with you and your business via our social media communication channels
  • we have key influencers who follow us, engage with us and write stories (editorial, online & otherwise) about those restaurateurs that have been involved
  • we invite you to participate in our educational workshops
  • our awards night on Monday 08 August is a great place for industry networking on a national scale


portrait photography: does this need to be professional?

no. You can ask a friend or staff member to take a digital photo of you either with a mobile or camera. 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. see example here


how do I send copies of my passport, review etc?

scan a copy or take a photo of your liquor licence, passport documents as individual documents or images. 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 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: YR (your first name and last name) ie. YR JohnSmith

what are the rules?

download our full terms and conditions here