Victorian apprentice chef, Simon Barton, has been announced as the winner in the 2016 Shared Tables Thierry Marx Career Development Award. The award gives one Victorian apprentice chef the opportunity to work in Paris.

Barton is a third year Holmesglen apprentice at Donovan’s Restaurant, St Kilda. As the award winner, he will travel to France and train under the guidance of Michelin star chef Thierry Marx and his team at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for 14 days. Barton will also undertake three days of work experience at the Le Cordon Bleu School and receive a scholarship valued at $5,000 to spend on a Le Cordon Bleu program of his choice.

“I want to be constantly challenged and benefit from having my cooking ability pushed to the limit, learn new techniques and network with fellow apprentice chefs. This experience has opened my eyes to the possibilities of molecular techniques and created a whole new sphere of interest in cooking, so any chance to practice and then showcase these new found skills would be invaluable,” said Barton.

Barton’s winning dish was a confit King Ora Salmon, lotus root, daikon, wakame, yuzu and golden consomme. The judges were impressed, not only with Barton’s cooking and technical abilities but his aptitude, positive attitude, maturity and his commitment to becoming a chef.

Marx was awarded his first Michelin star in 1988 at Roc en Val in Tours, and another at Cheval Blanc in Nmes in 1991. He spent a little over a decade at Chteau Cordeillan-Bages, a Relais & Chteaux in Gironde, where he held two Michelin stars from 1999 until he moved to the Mandarin Oriental in 2010.

Two runners up were also selected. Fiona Hede, a third year apprentice at Sofitel on Collins and Ahmad Armand Azoro Tengku, a full time student Le Cordon Bleu. As the 2016 runner up Hede will receive a four day food and wine educational tour in Sydney. Third place finalist Tengku will receive a three day pastry kitchen experience at Le Petit Gateau Melbourne, including a hands on chocolate showpiece masterclass.

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