The winner of this year’s Proud To Be a Chef initiative has been announced after 33 finalists took part in the program.

The culinary talents spent four days in Melbourne earlier this month, taking part in masterclasses and workshops with industry leaders as well as attending dining experiences before participating in a cook-off at William Angliss Institute.

Archer Houghton from Mercer’s Restaurant received the top honour, with the apprentice chef securing the $7,500 scholarship.

“…It’s not necessarily awarded to the best dish, rather it’s given to someone who we believe would really benefit from this investment in their career, and who has immersed themselves in the program from day one,” says Anchor™ Food Professionals Executive Chef Mark Normoyle.

In addition to the scholarship, awards for best sweet and savoury dishes were up for grabs as well as best use of social media.

Vue de monde’s Bethany Harman took out Best Sweet Dish for her elderflower parfait with peach compote, pickled peaches and marigold ice cream.

Sydney chef Isaac Nix from The Star received the Best Savoury Dish award for his crispy imperador with lemongrass sauce, fish cracker and tomato salsa.

“I decided I wanted to use a whole fish and then started experimenting with complementary ingredients until I had the recipe,” he says.

Nobu Melbourne’s Zaine Hamka-Clark took out the Best Use of Social Media for successfully documenting the four-day program.

Proud To Be a Chef will return in 2024, with applications to open later this year.