Budding culinary hopefuls vie for 3 top hospitality awards

04 February, 2015

Applications are now open for the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence 2015 awards, kicking off another exciting year of unearthing the next generation of culinary stars.

From humble beginnings in 2005, Electrolux Appetite for Excellence has grown into one of the country's leading hospitality awards.

Considered to be the industry's most prestigious, they're much more than simply hospitality awards, but rather "an education", according to Project Director Phee Gardner.

"It can change the lives of those who participate in it. It inspires and nurtures young hospitality talent enabling them to gain extra knowledge and greater confidence – and so boosting their career progression," Gardner said.

Drawing on the experience and skills of the judges, the program gives young talent a platform to help shape their career.

Massimo Mele, who was involved as a young chef in 2005, said it helped him realise the key attributes for success in the industry.

"Being exposed to high calibre mentors helped me realise that what they achieved was not because they were superhuman, but because they worked hard and were well trained and I too could achieve this," Mele said.

The Electrolux awards judging panel.

Application process

Each year there is new talent hitting the industry and the program aims to help young chefs, waiters and restaurateurs focus on where they want to go in their career and how they'd like to get there.

The application process asks you to define what your values are and who you are personally and professionally.

"Anyone even considering entering should put pen to paper and embrace the experience. You will learn an enormous amount about yourself," said Peter Doyle, head chef at The Quay, and young chef judge.

Alice Chugg, waiter and sommelier from Ethos, Hobart said just by having a discussion with the judges can strike a cord on both a professional and personal level.

"Talking to the judges about their experiences and businesses made me realise that there are so many facets of this industry. It's a validation of what I do, giving me more confidence in the career that I have chosen," Chugg said.

Electrolux Appetite for Excellence is an industry-led learning and development program, with educational workshops in each state, a week-long produce tour, state and national cook-offs, and food and wine knowledge assessments.

It also gives young talent the chance to travel the world and gain international exposure interacting with some of Australia's top industry leaders.