Australian apprentice chefs are invited to take part in the 17th annual Fonterra Proud to be a Chef mentoring program.

Thirty-two apprentices will be selected to take part in the all-expenses paid program, which will be held in Melbourne in February 2016. The winning participant will be presented with $7,500 to spend on an international culinary paid placement, personalised to their ambitions as a professional chef.

From 21 to 25 February, the finalists will be mentored by industry leaders including pastry chef at Shangri-La Sydney, Anna Polyviou, Josh Pelham, head chef at Estelle by Scott Pickett in Melbourne and Peter Wright, foodservice expert and global event specialist.

Over the four days, the participants will be able to dine at some of Melbourne’s best restaurants and upskill at a series of masterclasses conducted by industry leaders. They’ll also take part in a ‘field to fork’ tour to the Western Star dairy heartland in Cobden, regional Victoria.

The program, which was launched in 1996, will culminate with the apprentices cooking an original creation and working with a photographer to see their dish published in the annual Fonterra Proud to be a Chef yearbook.

Coordinator Carolyn Plummer said “Through the Proud to be a Chef program, Fonterra is committed to investing in Australia’s culinary industry, both recognising and rewarding up-and-coming chefs and future leaders in the food industry in Australia.”

Judging is conducted by a panel of industry professionals including chefs, educators and representatives from the Australian Culinary Federation and Fonterra Foodservice.

Entries for this year’s 2016 program are open until 31 October 2015 and all apprentice chefs in Australia are encouraged to enter via

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