Entries have opened for the 2018 Fonterra Proud to be a Chef, which helps create tomorrow’s culinary leaders through the recognition, professional development and ongoing support of today’s apprentices.
“While there are many culinary competitions out there, Fonterra Proud To Be a Chef is not about testing or judging young chefs but is a mentoring and development program without peer,” says Fonterra Foodservice channel marketing manager Alastair McCausland.
“Our focus is on identifying and developing the raw talent of those incredibly passionate young chefs who want to excel in the foodservice industry. We aim to provide them with the best mentoring experience possible, not just for the duration of the program but over the longer term to ensure they stay engaged and inspired about a career in the kitchen.”
Each February the Proud to be a Chef judges choose 32 finalists who are flown to Melbourne to take part in the all-expenses paid four day mentoring program including field tours, skills workshops, dining at prominent restaurants and educational classes with industry leaders. At the end of the program the standout apprentice is awarded the title of Proud to be a Chef winner and receives an international culinary scholarship tailored to their personal interests and goals as a professional chef.
Mentors for the 2018 program will be Frank Camorra, chef/owner of MoVida Bar de Tapas; Tony Twitchett, executive chef of Taxi Kitchen Melbourne; and Peter Wright, Fonterra Foodservice executive chef.
“These leading foodservice professionals have made their mark in the industry and are now focused on giving back to the next generation of apprentice chefs – it’s terrific to have them on board,” McCausland says. “The program gives our apprentices the chance to work up close and personal with these mentors through masterclasses and in their own restaurants.”
It took two attempts for this year’s Proud to be a Chef winner Giles Gabutina to get through to the finals.
“Being a chef is not just about the food, it’s about making connections and getting as much knowledge as possible, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” says Gabutina, who works at Tetsuya’s in Sydney. “The chefs took so much of their time to mentor and nurture you and show you what goes on behind the scenes.”