This week 32 apprentice chefs from all over Australia have participated in a truly life-changing experience – the 2019 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 gala event on the final night in which several finalists were honoured with special awards.

The recipient of this year’s Proud to Be a Chef International Culinary Scholarship, valued at $7,500 and tailored to the winner’s personal interests and goals as a professional chef, was awarded to Joel Noble from Quality Training and Hospitality College and soon to be at Brae Restaurant.

Upon presenting the award, Proud to Be a Chef mentor and Anchor Food Professionals Executive Chef Peter Wright said, “Joel is a fine young man who displayed incredible enthusiasm and spirit throughout the program. His passion really shone through over the four days – he was really attentive across all aspects of the program, and his cook-off presentation of a perfectly cooked duck dish with beetroot sauce – very difficult to achieve in a such a limited timeframe – was exceptional.”

Best Savoury Dish at the cook-off event was awarded to Brandon Hardiman of Nineteen at the Star, Gold Coast for grilled John Dory with handmade ravioli accompanied by fresh ricotta and seafood foam.

Proud to Be a Chef mentor Christy Tania of Glace Artisanal said, “Brandon’s dish showcased kitchen skills, presentation, seasoning and flavour, and the overall texture and balance was perfect – it was beautifully cooked. The John Dory was delicately filleted and cooked so it was just a little translucent in the middle, and it was so well seasoned that if you’d had it in a restaurant it would be a game-changer that would guarantee a return visit.”

Best Sweet Dish was awarded to Tess Wilson from Glace Artisanal, Melbourne for a circular sponge filled with coffee crème patisserie and fresh mandarin segments, topped with a lace biscuit drizzled with mandarin sorbet and garnished with several dollops of mandarin puree.

Proud to Be a Chef mentor Scott Pickett of Pickett and Co. said, “It was beautiful to eat – the sponge was light and delicate and the combination of the sweet filling with the tart flavour of the mandarin created a lovely contrast. Tess herself was outstanding, as indeed were the entire group of finalists – a wonderful bunch of young cooks. I know we say that every year, but this year especially was a standout.”

An award was also presented for Best Use of Social Media, with finalists judged on their social media posts using hashtag #PTBAC19. The winner was Justin Martin of Fida Sol, QLD.

Anchor Food Professionals Channel Marketing Manager Kym Gill said, “Justin actively shared each step of his Proud to be a Chef journey, from the moment he got on the plane to Melbourne, through to the very last day. Not only was his coverage extensive, he’s very quick-witted and this came through in his use of captions and accompanying text.”

Having achieved the milestone of its 20th anniversary, Proud to Be a Chef remains firmly committed to developing the raw talent of Australia’s most promising apprentice chefs and nurturing their enthusiasm for the foodservice industry – not just for the duration of the program but over the longer term.

“Our 20th anniversary year has certainly been outstanding,” affirmed Jeff Dhu, Director of Fonterra Foodservice. “We had 32 very engaged apprentice chefs who put 100 per cent of themselves into the program, and their demonstrated dedication, commitment and passion was exceptional. Each year the quality bar has been raised and that’s happened once again – our finalists just keep getting better and better.

“And while we do give out special awards on our presentation night, it’s important to recognize that all 32 finalists are the winners of this year’s Proud to Be a Chef. I’m very proud that we have completed this year’s program knowing that we have achieved all our objectives and that all participants have gotten so much out of the experience, which we believe will help equip them to become the culinary leaders of tomorrow.”

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