Are you our Young Chef of the Year?
Are you our Young Chef of the Year?

Are you a young chef with talent and ambition? Or do you know someone who has both in spades? The next edition of the brisbanetimes.com.au Good Food Guide is introducing the Young Chef of the Year award, designed to highlight and reward some our most passionate younger chefs.

Finalists for the award will be judged by a panel of chefs/restaurateurs (who will abstain in voting for their own staff should they reach the finals stage) including chief judge Philip Johnson. Johnson has had many young chefs pass through his kitchen since opening his first restaurant, Le Bronx, in 1988, followed by his lauded bistro, E'cco.  

So what does Johnson consider to be vital qualities in young chefs? First and foremost, he says, is passion.

Philip Johnson will head the judging panel.
Philip Johnson will head the judging panel. Photo: Supplied

"It's not a job you can just turn up to and go through the motions. You need to have a willingness to learn and a real thirst for knowledge. Part of that is wanting to work for the right people, to do stages with chefs in restaurants you admire; that's how knowledge is gained.

"A young chef has to have a positive attitude and enthusiasm. Bring ideas to the table if you see something you're interested in or want to try something. Discuss it with your peers, most will appreciated the input. That's how dishes evolve into a menu."

Johnson and fellow judges David Pugh from Restaurant Two, Tony Percuoco from Tartufo, Ryan Squires from Esquire, and Ben Russell from Aria, will be looking at the applications. The list will be whittled down to who they consider to be the top three young chefs in the state.

Finalists (who must be available to travel at their own expense) will then undergo an interview process and show off their talent by cooking for the judges.

If you think you have what it takes or would like to nominate a colleague or employee, please email  goodfood@brisbanetimes.com.au for an application form.