Chefs to compete at Foodservice Australia 2018

Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

Held at the ICC Sydney from 27–29 May, Foodservice Australia 2018 will see Australia’s best chefs battle it out to win a range of special events, including Battle of the Pacific and Chef of the Year. Both of these events require chefs to use their creativity and time management in a live kitchen in front of an audience of about 8000 restaurateurs, caterers, chefs, cafe operators, distributors, hoteliers, bakers and patissiers.

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

Battle of the Pacific is a new event in which nine teams of chefs will compete over three days to cook for their own 32-seat restaurant on the show floor. The four chefs in each team — including a head chef, junior chef and pastry chef — will prepare a gourmet, 2-course meal for their guests. The teams will be from each state of Australia as well as New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, bringing together the most accomplished and talented chefs in the area.

The event will be presented by the Australian Culinary Federation, and ACF General Manager Deb Foreman explained that it is expected to be an exciting new addition to the show.

“The ACF is the peak body for chefs in Australia, so it’s important that we run events where the chefs congregate, and that’s Foodservice Australia,” she said. “This is a really exciting competition and encourages chefs at any level to step out of their comfort zone.”

The popular annual culinary competition, Chef of the Year, will also be returning in 2018. Unlike the group work seen in the Battle of the Pacific, this event will see individual professional chefs in Australia compete against one another and the clock. Using a mystery box of ingredients, they will be tasked with creating two of their best dishes in just one hour. Only the top 32 entries out of hundreds will compete live at the show, and this will be reduced down in knockout heats, culminating in the grand final on the last day of the show.

In the 2017 show in Melbourne, the judges selected 28 finalists to compete, finally crowning Michael Cole from Georgie Bass, in Flinders, as the winner. Head Judge John McFadden, Area Executive Chef for Pan Pacific Hotels, said: “I have been involved in Chef of the Year for the past six years, and in that time it has morphed into a highly respected competition for professional chefs.

“What I saw at the competition this year in Melbourne just blew me away. It was amazing in terms of the high calibre of the chefs.”

Judged by a team of culinary experts, the 2018 event will take place in four live kitchens where attendees can watch from stadium seats and big screens. McFadden also noted that all chefs who enter benefit from challenging themselves in such a competitive environment and networking with like-minded people.

“It is great to see how these chefs perform under pressure. I really like seeing how far they are willing to push themselves in the time frame,” he said. “It’s also a great education in flavours and technique for us as judges, for the participants and for the visitors, seeing how each competitor handles the protein and other mandatory ingredients.”

Foreman agreed that competing in a live environment in front of a large audience was a challenging but rewarding experience for chefs, and provides many valuable takeaways for those watching. “You learn new things you can apply in your own kitchen, and you can see what other people are doing with ingredients — it’s the best way to stay up to date and at the leading edge of your profession. You also create firm new friendships and contacts.”

Follow the links below to enter the competitions, or register for the event:

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