Applications are now open for the Young Chef of the Year awards. Photo: Supplied
If you're a young chef from Queensland, New South Wales or Victoria with talent to burn, now's the time to put your hand up for this year's Young Chef of the Year awards.
Known to kick-start careers, open doors and change lives, the awards are available to chefs aged under 30.
George Calombaris, then 24, says winning Young Chef of the Year was a turning point. Photo: Nicole Emanuel
Perhaps you've heard of The Age Good Food Guide 2004 Young Chef of the Year award winner? A little-known guy named George Calombaris caught his big break at 24, when he headed the boundary-pushing but short-lived Reserve in Federation Square.
"It was a turning point in my career," says Calombaris, who now juggles duties as a MasterChef judge with running restaurants such as the Press Club, Hellenic Republic and Jimmy Grants in Melbourne.
Ollie Hansford won last year's Young Chef of the Year award in Brisbane. Photo: Chris Hyde
"Suddenly you're recognised not only by the professions that judge you but obviously by your peers … I say to all young cooks, 'Put your hand up, go for it'."
Young chefs who think they have the right stuff are invited to nominate themselves for The Age Good Food Guide 2017 Young Chef of the Year.
The Victorian award, judged by Lake House owner-chef Alla Wolf-Tasker and other leading chefs, will be handed out at the launch of this year's Age Good Food Guide on September 12, along with a set of seven hand-crafted Messermeister Oliva Elite knives, in a 12-pocket knife roll, valued at more than $1300.
Damien Pignolet with pastry chef Lauren Eldridge, last year's Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year winner. Photo: James Brickwood
Applicants must be an Australian permanent resident aged 30 years or under on August 31, and must send their completed application by May 6 and be available for a panel interview, if shortlisted.
Last year's winner, former Town Mouse sous chef George Tomlin, says the award helped land him a job at the Clove Club in London.
His advice to this year's applicants? "Think about the bigger picture. Your application has to stand out, as the people judging it have read so many of them.
"They have been where you are in your career and can see when you are just writing what you think they want to hear. It has to be personal and you have to be able to back up what you have said."
For an application form, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have what it takes to be this year's Brisbane Times Good Food Guide 2017 Young Chef of the Year? Or know someone who does?
Applications have opened for the award, which recognises Queensland's best chef aged under 30.
Past winners include Ben Devlin of Esquire, now kicking goals as head chef of Paper Daisy in Cabarita, and Ollie Hansford of Gauge, who was snapped up by Stokehouse in Melbourne shortly after winning last year's title.
The competition is judged by a panel of industry experts led by Ben Russell, executive chef of Aria restaurant in Brisbane. As well as being recognised with an award at the Good Food Guide 2017 awards, the winner will receive a set of seven hand-crafted Oliva Elite knives in a 12-pocket knife roll, valued at more than $1300, thanks to Messermeister.
Entrants must be aged 30 or under at June 30, 2016, must be a permanent Australian resident and must not be a head chef or a restaurant owner. They must also be available for a panel interview at a mutually convenient time if shortlisted.
To enter, email email@example.com for an application form.
Applications close Thursday May 5, 2016.
New South Wales
Calling all chefs under the age of 30 with a passion for making a difference to Sydney's culinary landscape. The Josephine Pignolet Award panel wants to hear from you.
This award, which has been running since 1990, is a tribute to the late Josephine Pignolet, a young chef who died in a motor accident in 1987, and the wife of chef Damien Pignolet.
Past winners have included Mark Best (Marque), Brett Graham (London's the Ledbury), and Dan Puskas and James Parry (Sixpenny). This year's winner will receive assistance with placement in an overseas restaurant; a set of Shun knives valued at $3000; and a cash prize of up to $20,000.
To enter, please email your CV, an essay outlining your thoughts and approach to cooking, and a current copy of your licence or passport showing your date of birth to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants cannot be a head chef or an owner of a food business. Applications close Friday, April 29.