Record number of finalists for Fonterra Proud to Be a Chef 2016

A record number of talented apprentice chefs have been selected to take part in the highly acclaimed Fonterra Proud to Be a Chef mentoring program for 2016.

The 17th annual competition will see thirty-four aspiring chefs from across Australia participate in the all-expense paid culinary experience taking place in Melbourne in February 2016 – two more lucky chefs making the finalist group than in previous years.

The talented finalists taking part in the culinary experience of a lifetime include:

·       Bridget Bottcher, Crown Melbourne, VIC ·       Lachlan  Murray, The Salopian Inn, McLaren Vale, SA
·       Brooke Stewart, Dubbo RSL Memorial Club, Dubbo, NSW ·       Linh Tran, West Coast Institute of Training, Wanneroo, WA
·       Christel Darion,   Chisolm Tafe, VIC ·       Madeleine Lamont,  Lamont’s Bishops House, Perth, WA
·       Eden Fuller,   Halekulani Bowling Club, Budqewoi, NSW ·       Makaila Gatehouse,  Spicers Tamarind Retreat, Maleny, QLD
·       Ellyse Humphries, The Lido Larder, Portland, VIC ·       Margiory Guzman, Campbelltown Catholic Club, Campbelltown, NSW
·       Fanny Hoareau, Epicure-Brisbane City Hall, Brisbane, QLD ·       Maria Hoad, Rydges Hotel, Palmerston, NT
·       Georgia Doherty, Summer Salt Restaurant, Cronulla, NSW ·       Mark Goode, Gilbert Street Hotel, Adelaide, SA
·       Haley Moreland, Ballina RSL Club, Ballina, NSW ·       Mark Johnson, Co-op Dining, East Perth, WA
·       Harry Gibbs, The Good Table, Castlemaine, VIC ·       Matthew Hibbs, Grand Hyatt, Melbourne, VIC
·       Jack Basoff, Shangri-la Hotel, Sydney, NSW ·       Maverick Cuthbert, Grosvenor Hotel, Perth, WA
·       Jacopo Marino, Via Italia, Mooloolaba, QLD ·       Rebecca Merhi, The Star, Pyrmont, NSW
·       Jake McKenzie, Tinamba Hotel, Tinamba, VIC ·       Samantha Butler,  Oakridge Winery, Coldstream, VIC
·       Jasmine Sawa, National Press Club of Australia, Canberra, ACT ·       Taylor Hanney,  Woodland Kitchen & Bar, Neutral Bay, NSW
·       Joshua Cowley, Kingscliff Surf Life Saving Club,Kingscliff, NSW ·       Thomas Morgan, Coal River Farm, Cambridge, TAS
·       Kayla Jenkin, The European, Melbourne, VIC ·       Victoria Morton, Silo Restaurant and Lounge, Newcastle, NSW
·       Kyle Ferguson, Terrace Restaurant – All Saints Estate, Lavington, NSW ·       Viveik Vinoharan, Wolfe and Co, Dural, NSW
·       Lachlan Howgego,  Jupiters, Broadbeach, QLD ·       Xavier McMutrie, Coopers Ale House, Adelaide, SA


Fonterra Proud to be a Chef Coordinator, Carolyn Plummer says that it was the outstanding calibre of submissions from this year’s crop of apprentice chefs that had led to the increase in finalists, with competition set to be fierce this coming year.

“The high standard of entries this year is a true testament to the Australian foodservice industry and the next generation of culinary leaders,” says Carolyn.

The Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program is designed to foster, recognise and reward up-and-coming apprentice chefs throughout the four-day program.

The mentoring component of the program enables and encourages apprentice chefs to connect with industry icons and peers alike to create lasting networks and relationships.

This year’s thirty-four strong finalist group will be presented with the opportunity to be mentored by esteemed Australian culinary leaders Anna Polyviou, Executive Pastry Chef at Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney; Josh Pelham, Head Chef at ESP and Estelle in Melbourne; and Peter Wright, foodservice expert and global event specialist.

Finalists have the opportunity to dine at award-winning restaurants across Melbourne while culinary master classes provide a platform for the apprentices to learn and develop skills from the cream of the crop of the Australian foodservice industry.

“Fonterra is proud to support passionate and gifted Australian chefs, many of whom come from a variety of backgrounds, and we hope that through this program we’re able to inspire them to continue their culinary journey,” Carolyn says.

Ultimately, the up-and-coming chefs are competing for the chance to win $7,500 to spend on an international culinary paid placement, exclusively tailored to their aspirations as a professional chef. Finalists will showcase their creativity and technical talent when presenting their original recipe event week dish.

Mitchell Tucker, winner of Fonterra Proud to be a Chef 2015, is currently undertaking his major prize placement at Townsman Restaurant under Matt Jennings in downtown Boston, US.