Fonterra Proud to be a Chef returns for its 15th year

25 September, 2013

Entries are now open for the 15th annual Fonterra Proud to be a Chef 2014 mentoring program. The all-expense-paid apprentice chef competition is held in Melbourne, Victoria, and open to applicants from across Australia.

Throughout its 15 year history Fonterra Proud to be a Chef has established a legacy in the foodservice industry as a unique and rewarding experience for 32 apprentice chefs given the opportunity to learn, develop new skills,  network and be mentored by some of Australia's top chefs.

To celebrate the 15th year anniversary the 2014 finalists will undergo four days of master classes and training with: Matthew Macartney, Executive Chef at Chateau Yering and FPTBAC 2002 winner; Jake Nicholson,  Former Executive Chef at Circa, The Prince and FPTBAC finalist in the late 90s; and Darren Purchese, Owner and Chef at Burch & Purchese (B&P) Sweet Studio.

From Sunday 23 February, 2014 finalists will be involved in master classes, tour the Yarra Valley, cook their own recipe, have it photographed and published and dine at award winning Melbourne restaurants.

One standout apprentice will receive the major prize of $7,500 to spend on an international culinary paid placement, tailored to their aspirations as a professional chef.

Fonterra Proud to be a Chef coordinator Carolyn Plummer said: "The competition is Fonterra's opportunity to support future leaders and to recognise and reward the trainee chefs who make a vital contribution to our industry.

"Over the past 15 years Fonterra has supported over 400 trainee chefs through the program who have  gone on to pursue successful careers in foodservice," Plummer added.

"The Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program is the ultimate culinary experience for apprentice chefs."

Fonterra Proud to be a Chef has an impressive list of alumni including industry great George Calombaris, MasterChef judge and owner of Made Establishment with restaurants Hellenic Republic, St Katherines, PM24, Mama Baba and his newest restaurant Gazi.

Last year's winner Jacob Hoskin from Traralgon, Victoria, is currently overseas in Europe embarking on his international placement at two of the world's top 100 restaurants including In De Wulf in Dranouter, Belgium and Restaurant Relæ  in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Jacob said: "It's a life changing opportunity to win a paid work placement overseas. I chose In De Wulf and Restaurant Relæ because they're famous for organic, nature-based cuisine and use lots of herbs and vegetables."

"Fonterra Proud to be a Chef was a fantastic experience – we met other apprentices, the master chefs and ate at some of Melbourne's best restaurants. Fonterra did a great job organising the competition, with the accommodation and travel paid for. Apprentices have nothing to lose and should definitely give it a go," Jacob added.

Judging is conducted by an expert panel of industry professionals including chefs, educators and representatives from the Australian Culinary Federation and Fonterra Foodservice.

Entries for 2014 are now open and all passionate apprentice chefs in Australia are encouraged to enter via the Fonterra Food Services website.