Peter Wright, Zac Nicholson, winner Mitchell Tucker and Joe Grbac (L-R)
Fonterra Proud to be a Chef 2015 Program Winners Announced

Following three days of master classes, culinary challenges and fine dining experiences in Melbourne, the winner of the 16th annual Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program was announced at a Gala dinner event attended by some of Australia’s top chefs and culinary identities.

Mitchell Tucker from Tugun, Queensland, was recognised by the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef mentors as the standout finalist and was awarded the major prize of an international culinary paid placement tailored to his personal aspirations as a chef.

Mitchell, who studies at the College of Tourism and Hospitality (COTAH) at Tafe Brisbane and works at Jupiter’s Hotel and Casino on the Gold Coast was overwhelmed to have been presented with the opportunity and said he was looking forward to growing his skills as well as forging connections with chefs from across the globe.

During the program Mitchell created an impressive original recipe for a modern take on citrus duck; sous vide duck breast with crispy skin accompanied by a confit beet salad, pea puree, compressed orange segments and orange jus, a potato rosti disc and crumbed Mainland fetta.

Now in its sixteenth year, the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program is designed to publicly recognise and reward the dedication and commitment of apprentice chefs, as well as assist in the continued improvement and development of culinary standards and professionalism.

32 finalists from across Australia took part in the three days of master classes in Melbourne, providing them the once in a lifetime opportunity to network, develop new skills and be mentored by some of Australia’s top chefs, including;

  • Joe Grbac, Head Chef and Co-Owner at Saint Crispin
  • Zac Nicholson, Head Chef at Rockpool Bar & Grill, Melbourne
  • Peter Wright, Foodservice Expert and Global Event Specialist

Each of the apprentice chefs will have their recipe and dish published in a special Fonterra Proud to be a Chef yearbook.

The program is an initiative of Fonterra Foodservice, a dedicated business which meets the specialised dairy food demands of customers in areas such as pubs, clubs and restaurants. The team at Fonterra work directly with chefs and caterers to provide quality dairy products and ingredients that can be tailored and used to create innovative dishes and taste experiences.

The finalists were evaluated on the basis of their aptitude, the commitment and dedication shown during participation in the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program as well as their overall demonstration of passion for the culinary arts.

Fonterra Proud to be a Chef coordinator Carolyn Plummer said that the standard of the finalists in the 2015 program was exceptionally high, with all the apprentice chefs showing outstanding enthusiasm, originality as well as commitment to the culinary industry.

“As one of Australia’s leading dairy businesses and the number one dairy supplier in Foodservice, Fonterra is proud to support passionate and committed Australian chefs, and celebrate the fact that these future leaders of our industry come from a variety of backgrounds and skills.”

“Through the Proud to be a Chef program, we hope we can contribute to furthering their education and their careers, as well as encourage them to pursue their culinary passion and continue their vital contribution to our industry,” she added.

Ms Plummer also praised the strong support the program receives from the industry, citing the continued involvement of the William Angliss Institute as well as the time and energy contributed by a number of industry professionals, beyond those involved as mentors in the program.

Applications for the 2016 Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program will open in the second half of the year. Updates will be posted throughout the year at: 

The photo shows Peter Wright, Zac Nicholson, winner Mitchell Tucker and Joe Grbac (L-R)