Entries are now open for Proud to Be a Chef 2022, Australia’s leading foodservice mentoring program which gives 32 apprentice chefs from across the country the chance to be part of a once in a lifetime culinary experience.

Over four days, finalists will undertake an all-expenses-paid journey embracing masterclasses, skills workshops, dining at prominent restaurants and invaluable networking opportunities with peers, industry leaders and program mentors.

The program culminates with one outstanding finalist awarded a $7,500 culinary scholarship tailored to their individual aspirations as a professional chef, with further awards presented for best dishes and best use of social media during the four days of activities.

Each year the Proud to Be a Chef resident mentor – Melbourne Chef and Restaurateur Mark Normoyle of Luna’s Food and Wine Bar St Kilda and Executive Chef at Anchor™ Food Professionals – is joined by two guest mentors chosen for their skillset, insight and passion.

Together, the chefs dedicate themselves to providing support and advice to the Proud to Be a Chef finalists, not just for the duration of the program but over the longer term.

“This is my third year with Proud to Be a Chef and I’m very pleased and proud to be part of it,” says Normoyle. “The relationships forged in this program last for the long haul – I’m still in touch with our previous years’ finalists, as are the other mentors, and together we’ve built a camaraderie and mutual support network that is truly invaluable, especially in these trying times.

“For 2022 we again have two terrific mentors whom I’m really looking forward to working with to deliver another fantastic program for our 32 finalists.”

Executive Pastry Chef Michael Germanos is the 2022 pastry mentor. Germanos has spent the past 14 years working in the industry as a pastry chef in hotels, pastry boutiques and production kitchens including the RACV City Club, Vanilla and Nikos Fairfield and has studied the art of patisserie in Paris.

“I’m super-excited to be part of the program,” he says. “I think it’s really important to give our finalists a strong foundation of skills and knowledge that they can carry throughout their career. I understand what it’s like to be just starting out on your foodservice journey because I was once there myself, and I had great mentors whom I looked up to and who inspired me along the way, so I see this as an opportunity to give something back.”

Germanos’ passion lies in French pastry, particularly entremets and petite gateaux. “I love being able to create beautiful desserts with elements of texture, balance and precision, and that visual aspect which attracts customers,” says the chef.

He is already planning his Proud to Be a Chef masterclass and will “be demonstrating a layered French entremet, showcasing a range of techniques that focus on the texture and balance of ingredients. This is one of the pastry fundamentals so it’s a solid foundational skill that will stand you in good stead for your career”.

Executive Chef Telina Menzies of Australian Venue Co. is the 2022 savoury mentor. Menzies mentors and trains teams of chefs across multiple locations including 15 iconic pubs in Melbourne and venues in WA and regional NSW.

“I’m really honoured to be part of Proud to Be a Chef – there’s nothing more important than pushing our future superstars to the front and focusing on the next generation,” she says. “I’m looking forward to being able to learn as much from them as they do from me! A lot of us go into the industry quite young and I was a bit lost when I started, but great mentoring gave me a sense of purpose and once I’d been inspired I knew I wanted to reach for the stars. That’s why programs like Proud to Be a Chef are so valuable – I know they can really change lives.”

For her Proud to Be a Chef masterclass, Menzies plans to showcase the potential of Australian native ingredients. “I think there’s no story more important than educating the next generation on First Nations’ foods, so I’d like to focus on Indigenous Australian produce and wild, foraged ingredients that you can gather around your local area. I want to do a sensory masterclass where everyone can feel, touch, taste and be exposed to some new flavour and texture combinations.”

To enter Proud to Be a Chef, applicants need to complete the online form, submit an original recipe using an Anchor™ Food Professionals product and explain why they are passionate about food and cookery, where they would like their apprenticeship to take them, and what they are hoping to get out of the program.

Entries close Sunday 31 October 2021.

For full details visit www.proudtobeachef.com