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Friday, June 10, 2016

Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 Final Cook Off

Judges David Pynt (head chef of Burnt Ends, Singapore), Lyndey Milan, Peter Gilmore and Guy Grossi at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off

Few of us ever get to really see behind-the-scenes in the kitchen. The ding of the bell is usually all we hear before front-of-house staff ferry your plate from the pass to the place setting in front of you. Rarely do you get to see the rapid fire slicing of onions, hear the whoosh of a gas flame being lit, smell the sizzle of butter being basted over a steak in a hot frypan. 

I got to see, hear and smell all of this during the final cook off for the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef Awards. This national competition is now in its 11th year, open to all chefs 18-30 years of age. 

National finalists at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
National finalists in the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year final cook-off 

Thirteen state finalists cooked a two-course menu for judges before being whittled down seven. The next day, seven national finalists had to cook a three course meal within three hours on their own, watched by a judging panel that included Mark Best (Marque), Peter Gilmore (Quay), Guy Grossi (Grossi Floretino), Luke Mangan (glass brasserie), Lyndey Milan and David Pynt (Burnt Ends Singapore). The judges would taste each dish and also conduct interviews with each chef.

Mal Meiers from Fatto Bar & Cantina at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Mal Meiers from Fatto Bar & Cantina, Southbank, Melbourne

The final cook-off was held in the commercial kitchen at TAFE Sydney Ultimo College where the mood was focused and quietly intense. I tried to be a discreet fly on the wall, hurriedly getting out of the way when chefs rushed past me into the pantry. There was minimal talking.

I was only there for about 70 minutes, so missed out on photographing Aaron Ward from Sixpenny who had already completed cooking by the time I arrived.

Here are my shots from the day, presented as a photographic essay. I hope the skill, creativity and mental toughness of these talented young chefs comes through.

Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney carving ribeyes at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney


Jordan Monkhouse from Aria Brisbane at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Jordan Monkhouse from Aria Brisbane

Nick Gannaway from The Bridge Room, Sydney at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Nick Gannaway from The Bridge Room, Sydney

Jordan Monkhouse from Aria Brisbane explaining his dish at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Jordan Monkhouse from Aria Brisbane explaining the components of his dish

Final dish by Jordan Monkhouse from Aria Brisbane at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Final dish by Jordan Monkhouse from Aria Brisbane


Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney filleting with precision

Nick Gannaway from The Bridge Room, Sydney with crab at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Nick Gannaway from The Bridge Room, Sydney breaking apart a crab straight from the pot

Nick Gannaway from The Bridge Room, Sydney cooking crab over charcoal at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Nick Gannaway from The Bridge Room, Sydney cooking crab over charcoal

Crab cooking on charcoal by Nick Gannaway from The Bridge Room, Sydney at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Crab cooking on charcoal

Zackary Furst from Ides in Collingwood, Melbourne at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Zackary Furst from Ides in Collingwood, Melbourne

Judges Peter Gilmore and Lyndey Milan watching Jordan Monkhouse from Aria Brisbane at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Judges Peter Gilmore and Lyndey Milan watching Jordan Monkhouse from Aria Brisbane

Mal Meiers from Fatto Bar & Cantina selecting herbs at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Mal Meiers from Fatto Bar & Cantina, Southbank, Melbourne

Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney seasoning fish at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney adding salt flakes to his fish parcel

Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney wrapping his fish parcel in caul fat at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney wrapping up his fish parcel in caul fat

Judges Lyndey Milan, David Pynt and Peter Gilmore at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Judges Lyndey Milan, David Pynt (head chef of Burnt Ends, Singapore) and Peter Gilmore

Zackary Furst from Ides in Collingwood, Melbourne plating up at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Zackary Furst from Ides, Collingwood, Melbourne plating up

Zackary Furst from Ides in Collingwood, Melbourne saucing plates at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Zackary Furst from Ides, Collingwood, Melbourne saucing plates

Prime ribeye on the bone by Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Prime ribeye on the bone

Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney cooking ribeye steaks at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney cooking ribeyes

Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney flipping ribeye steaks at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney flipping the ribeye in the pan

Ribeye steaks cooking in butter by Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Ribeye steaks cooking in butter

Judges Lyndey Milan, Guy Grossi and Luke Mangan watching Zackary Furst from Ides in Collingwood, Melbourne at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Judges Lyndey Milan, Guy Grossi and Luke Mangan watching Zackary Furst from Ides, Collingwood, Melbourne

Mal Meiers from Fatto Bar & Cantina slicing fish at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Mal Meiers from Fatto Bar & Cantina, Southbank, Melbourne slicing fish

Nick Gannaway from The Bridge Room, Sydney peeling fresh wasabi at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Nick Gannaway from The Bridge Room, Sydney peeling fresh wasabi

Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney testing his ribeye steaks in the oven at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney checking the ribeye steaks in the oven

Thiago Miranda from Church St Enoteca in Richmond, Melbourne at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Thiago Miranda from Church St Enoteca in Richmond, Melbourne

Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney selecting herbs at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney

Cooked prime ribeye steak on the bone by Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Final cooked ribeye steaks by Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney

Closeup on the prime ribeye steak on the bone by Troy Crisante from Bennelong Restaurant, Sydney at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Ribeye steak glistening


Potatoes roasted on a bed of rocksalt

Beef cooking over charcoal by Nick Gannaway from The Bridge Room, Sydney at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Beef cooking over charcoal

Nick Gannaway from The Bridge Room, Sydney cooking beef over charcoal at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off
Nick Gannaway from The Bridge Room, Sydney

National finalists at the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2016 final cook off

The national winners for the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef, Young Restaurateur and Young Waiter of the Year will be announced on August 8.

Good luck to the national finalists and congratulations to all!

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/10/2016 01:17:00 am


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