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Calling junior chefs: Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award returns

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When Kimberley Tang became the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat national winner in 2021, the 24-year-old was only just beginning her successful career in the kitchen. 

At the time, she was one of more than 100 young people selected from thousands of entries to compete against some of the country’s best aspiring chefs. 

She has since been a finalist in the Smeg Young Chef of the Year Award and featured in the SMH Good Food Guide. 

Now a sous chef at Chatwood’s renowned Chef’s Table restaurant, Tang is encouraging other young chefs, especially those in the Hunter, to enter the competition she says was a game-changer. 

“Competing in the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award is an unforgettable experience,” says Tang. 

“It provides that rare opportunity to gain access to amazing chefs, test your skills and get creative in a supportive environment, while also making meaningful industry friendships.” 

Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award 2008 and 2009 national finalist and Executive Chef at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Dylan Sanding.

The annual Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award competition is open to aspiring chefs in Australia and New Zealand aged 16 to 25. 

There is more than $30,000 worth of prizes up for grabs, including an incredible 14-day international culinary experience in Singapore valued at $10,000. 

Australia’s longest-running culinary competition for emerging chefs, the Award has been a springboard for 8,000 young chefs since 1965. 

From May, more than 120 participants are expected to compete in metro and regional cook-offs across Australia and New Zealand, with only one contestant to be crowned the Nestlé Golden Chef of the Year.  

Entry is free for young people aged 16 to 25 employed in the culinary industry or studying a relevant course.  

In September, 12 finalists will battle it out at the grand final at Melbourne’s Fine Food Australia Expo.  

Staged over two heats in front of an audience, the national winner will be named the Nestlé Golden Chef of the Year at the awards ceremony the following day, with special industry guests in attendance.  

Nestlé Executive Chef and Golden Chef judge, Elke Travers.

Nestlé Executive Chef and Golden Chef judge Elke Travers says the competition not only offers career aspirations, but can also help form lifelong bonds with those in the industry. 

“More than just a competition, the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award provides young chefs with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build friendships and realise their ambition, while expanding their professional and personal horizons,” she explained.  

This year, as part of its commitment to supporting a thriving foodservice industry, the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award is offering young chefs a new partnership with The Burnt Chef Project.  

This not-for-profit organisation provides education and resources to support the mental health and wellbeing of those working in the foodservice industry.  

“We understand that the role of a chef can be demanding and stressful. Providing access to mental health support means that chefs have access to the resources and guidance they need to thrive both professionally and personally,” said Chef Elke.  

Entries for the Nestlé Golden Chef Hat Awards are now open and will close at 11.59pm on Monday 6 May.  

For more information or to register online visit, goldenchefs.com.au. 

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