Over the last couple of months I’ve been lucky enough to be working with Electrolux Appetite for Excellence program. The prestigious awards program is designed to recognise Australia’s top young waiters, chefs and restaurateurs. The program sees the entrants of each category work with and alongside a star studded judging panel of industry legends, partaking in a number of hands-on activities and assessments to develop their skills for their future careers.
Just being part of the program is an achievement in itself. Each applicant grows and learns from hospitality heavy hitters such as Simon Denton, Mark Best, Luke Mangan, Peter Gilmore and Christine Manfield, just to name a few.
On Monday night, the national finalists for the young waiter, chef and restaurateur categories, the judging panel, alongside a large number of industry folk gathered at Luke Mangan’s Mojo, to recognise the top of each class. As an upcoming chef and restaurateur it was both exciting and humbling to be rubbing shoulders with industry heavyweights, but also refreshing to see that our industry stands in good hands, with such a high calibre of young guns in the room.
The highlight for me though had to be some words of wisdom shared by Aussie superstar chef and owner of Burnt Ends, David Pynt. On stage to present the winners of each category with their prizes, I was hooked by the advice he gave the finalists. David spoke on how hard you need to work to be a success in what is an already tough industry to break into. “When you think you’re working hard, work harder,” he shared. Everyone in the crowd heard it and also felt it, including me.
After some captivating words it was time for the business end of the night as Dave proceeded to announce the winners in their respective fields.
Electrolux Australian Young Waiter of the year – Andrew Day
Electrolux Australian Young Chef of the Year – Aaron Day
Electrolux Australian Young Restaurateur – Cameron Candsell
Congratulations to everyone involved this year. It was refreshing to see so much young talent across the board and I can’t wait to be involved again next year.