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Young TAFE NSW graduate wins Sydney cook-off

Young TAFE NSW graduate wins Sydney cook-off

TAFE NSW Commercial Cooking graduate Ethan Annesley has won the New South Wales Metro Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award competition against the top young chefs in the region, earning him a place in the National Grand Final Cook-Off.

The Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award is Australia’s longest running and most prestigious culinary competition for young chefs. Medals are awarded based on a point scoring system and the dishes are judged to globally recognised standards.

Annesley will now go head-to-head against regional winners from across the country, competing for the title of Golden Chef of the Year in the Grand Final Cook-Off held at Fine Food Australia in Sydney this September.

Twenty-three-year-old Annesley is the head commis chef at The Star Sydney’s signature dining restaurant Flying Fish and completed a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at TAFE NSW Ryde earlier this year.

Annesley’s passion is evident in the creativity and attention to detail put into his winning dishes, serving up a main consisting of roasted pork with coffee and onion jus, confit sweet potato, charred asparagus and walnut, along with honey yoghurt parfait with roasted strawberries, lemon oat cake, and a lemon thyme crème for dessert.

“I love working as a chef – there isn’t a day where I don’t want to go to work. I’m very fortunate to really enjoy what I do, and this competition has only added fuel to that,” he said.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to stretch myself by trialling new ways of balancing flavours. For example, in the two dishes I created for the regional competition, lemon thyme is more often used in savoury dishes than sweet, and coffee is often used in sweet dishes, not savoury, but I wanted to switch these up.”

He said the competition requires chefs to be excellent in their organisation and workflow in addition to their dishes, which will set him up well for a future in fine dining.

“I would love to travel and work overseas in fine dining. Everything is held in such high regard, and you need to be conscious of every little thing you do, and that challenge excites me,” he said.

“TAFE NSW Ryde is known for its excellent kitchen facilities and great teachers, and my training there was really beneficial to building my skills and preparing me for my future,” he said.

TAFE NSW Head Teacher Commercial Cookery Ianthe Smith said the food and hospitality industry is crying out for more skilled chefs, and that she is incredibly proud to be equipping the next generation for success.

“The Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award competition is an opportunity for high-potential young chefs like Annesley to develop their skills and knowledge, connect with the broader industry and demonstrate their talent. TAFE NSW is proud to be involved in such an important event, given our focus is on providing the practical training and real work experience they need to excel in their jobs.”

“Our young chefs are the future leaders of the hospitality and food services industry, so it’s important they are exposed to situations that test their resolve under pressure to set them up for success.”

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