Once again 32 apprentice chefs from all over Australia have participated in a truly life-changing experience – the 2018 Fonterra Proud to Be a Chef mentoring program.


The four days of culinary experiences, workshops, masterclasses with industry leaders and mentors, and dining at prominent restaurants culminated in a cook-off at William Angliss College and a presentation night in which several finalists were honoured with special awards.


The $7,500 Fonterra Proud to Be a Chef International Culinary Scholarship for 2018, which is tailored to the winner’s personal interests and goals as a professional chef, was awarded to Rebekah White from The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa, Byron Bay, NSW.


“Rebekah was very well organised and a natural born-leader,” said Fonterra Foodservice Executive Chef Peter Wright. “Over the four days of mentoring, people’s true colours shine through and Rebekah was so impressive that the decision to award her the scholarship was unanimous from all the judges.”


Proud to Be a Chef mentor Tony Twitchett of leading Melbourne restaurant Taxi Kitchen said: “Rebekah fully immersed herself from day one and went above and beyond. It was obvious she lives and breathes foodservice, and her passion and drive to better herself was immediately apparent.” And mentor Frank Camorra of award-winning MoVida Bar de Tapas added: “Rebekah was always looking for advice in different matters and was very willing to listen and learn. Those qualities will stand her in great stead for her future career – she is going to progress very far.”


The award for Best Savoury Dish at the cook-off event went to Sam Lawrie of Long Chim, Sydney, for his Miso Butter Ramen. Frank Camorra, who presented the award, said: “Sam’s dish was not only delicious and interesting but he utilised some very innovative techniques to produce it from scratch in the allotted hour and a half. Not only did he nail the dish, but he demonstrated genuine creativity and a depth of knowledge of the cuisine which I found really impressive.”


The award for Best Sweet went to Josh Nickl of Gumnut Patisserie in the NSW Southern Highlands for a cheesecake with mango gel, which award presenter Tony Twitchett described as “a deceptively simple concept with added wow factor. Josh included elements like ginger and mango to make sure it was sharp with a little acidity – he took it away from being just a super-sweet dessert and went to the next level.”


All finalists were asked to make regular social media posts using the hashtag #ptbac2018 and the award for Best Social Media Marketing went to Michelle Murray of The Olde Bakehouse in Morriset, NSW. “Michelle had a great mix of media in her posts, including videos and multi-photo posts which told the Proud to Be a Chef story really well,” said Fonterra Foodservice Trade Marketing Assistant Liz Coburn. “Every time she participated in an activity like a market tour or restaurant visit she would document it with fantastic imagery.”


As an industry mentoring program without peer, Fonterra Proud to Be a Chef remains committed to encouraging the most promising apprentice chefs and supporting them over the longer term, nurturing their passion and enthusiasm for the foodservice industry.


“While we do give out special awards on our presentation night, it’s very important to recognise that all 32 finalists are the winners of this year’s Proud to Be a Chef program,” pointed out Fonterra Foodservice Channel Marketing Manager Kym Gill.


“Our focus is on helping to create the culinary leaders of tomorrow through the recognition, professional development and ongoing support of today’s apprentices. Proud to Be a Chef is not about testing or judging young chefs, but rather identifying and developing the raw talent and commitment of those passionate young men and women who want to dedicate themselves to the foodservice industry.


“We aim to provide the best mentoring experience possible and certainly for 2018 we believe the program has excelled in delivering just that. We extend our congratulations to all participants and our thanks to our mentors, Fonterra staff and industry supporters for helping to make 2018 the best year yet for Proud to Be a Chef.”


For full details about Proud To Be a Chef, including video interviews with winners, finalists and mentors, entry forms and contact information please visit