Foodservice Australia brings chef competitions to Melbourne

18 April, 2017 by
Danielle Bowling

Melbourne will play host to competitions Bocuse d’Or and Chef of the Year in May, with both events to be held as part of the Foodservice Australia show in the Royal Exhibition Building.

Over three days from 28–30 May professional chefs from around the country will congregate at Foodservice Australia to compete in the two competitions. In addition the industry will come together to celebrate and promote Bocuse d’Or Australia at a gala dinner ‘The Road to Lyon’ hosted by Atlantic Group on Monday 29 May.

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“These competitions are distinctly different, however they have one crucial thing in common,” said event director Tim Collett. “They encourage all our chefs to strive for excellence and share their passion for world-class cuisine.”

The Chef of the Year competition grants cash prizes of $10,000, with each heat winner receiving $500 and the overall winner taking home $6000 alongside the trophy.

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“This is a highly regarded and competitive event,” said competition director Farrell. “This year we have had over 200 entries which will be narrowed down to 32 finalists. They will meet each other in high pressure one-hour heats, culminating in a grand final on the last day. There is a strict set of criteria, and a team of culinary experts to judge the winner.”

Farrell adds that this year’s event will be surrounded by stadium-style seating for the first time, allowing spectators an unprecedented view of the action.

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Sam Burke, executive chef at Meat & Livestock Australia, is looking forward to being part of the judging panel under the leadership of head judge John McFadden.

“There are so many superstar chefs out there and getting them all together to showcase their skills under pressure makes for a great few days of competition,” he said.

Four chefs and their assistant or commis chef will prepare a meat dish and a fish dish in just over five hours as they compete for the Bocuse d’Or Australian Selection. The competition is organised and judged by a committee of dedicated chefs and industry professionals, including previous Bocuse d’Or competitors Scott Pickett, Joseph Vargetto and Simon Cosentino and Tom Milligan, president of Bocuse d’Or Australia and executive chef at Atlantic Group.

“The Bocuse d’Or is the most prestigious competition in the world for chefs, held in Lyon every two years,” said Tom Milligan. “This year we achieved our best result in 30 years of participating, with Dan Arnold and his commis Ryan Cosentino coming eighth out of a field of 24 countries.

“It is a big commitment to training and competing over the next two years. Therefore at the Australian Selection we are not just assessing the flair, flavour and presentation of their dishes, we actually more interested in their composure under pressure, their kitchen organisational skills and their interaction with their commis chef.”

The next Lyon event will be held in January 2019. To qualify, Australia must come in the top five of the Bocuse d’Or Asia Pacific, to be held in Singapore next year.

The winner of the Bocuse d’Or Australian Selection will be announced at a luncheon at Foodservice Australia on Tuesday 30 May, followed by the Chef of the Year Grand Final.

Savour Patissier of the Year will be back for it’s second year, with finalists to plate up tarts, clairs, entremets and desserts for judges including El Celler de can Roca’s Jordi Roca.

Foodservice Australia features three days of events, including hospitality-focussed seminars, workshops and exhibits. Over 250 exhibitor stands will fill two floors of the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, showcasing food and beverage products, catering and baking equipment, hospitality technology, entertainment, furniture and fittings, and more.

New to the show this year is the Australian Seafood Summit, a one-day conference jointly organised with the Association of International Seafood Professionals (AISP) and will have a global outlook.