Brisbane chef Marcus Hillier had been crowned the first ever Queensland Chef of the Year, after two days of competition at the inaugural Food & Hospitality Queensland trade expo.
Sous chef at Factory 51 in Coorparoo, Hillier was one of 28 chefs selected to compete in Brisbane and faced off against Mathew Lee, Norbert Marczinek and Ungki Lee in the grand final.
The judging team comprised head judge Karen Doyle, who is program manager at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney and president of the Australian Culinary Federation NSW-ACT & Regions; consultant chef Paul Rifkin;Shane Keighley from Big Chef Little Chef and former Bocuse d’Or competitor Dan Arnold.
Doyle says Hillier was a very deserving winner.
“He used his time effectively to showcase a number of technical skills, plus flair and passion, on his final dishes,” she says.
Chefs in the grand final were required to prepare two dishes in one hour using pork loin chop, pork tenderloin, pork cheek and pigs’ ears.
Hillier’s first dish was Asian braised pork cheek with wild mushrooms, peas, leek and crispy pigs’ ears and his main dish was prosciutto-wrapped baked tenderloin with pan-fried loin chop, potato fondant, goat’s cheese and pickled beetroot.
“Winning felt awesome as I wasn’t expecting it, I was up against so much talent,” he says. “Having never entered a cooking competition before, I couldn’t believe I’d won.”
Hillier took home a range of prizes, $2500 cash and a trip to Melbourne next year to compete in the Australian Professional Chef of the Year at Foodservice Australia.