The Australian Culinary Federation National Apprentice Competition Final was held at Huonville Trade training Centre, Tasmania on 3rd & 4th October Apprentices from all Australian States & Territories flew into Hobart Monday having come together for a week of camaraderie, networking & education.

Tuesday morning the Final & 1st year apprentices were off to Tassal Hatchery & processing plant & then on to Willy Smith Cider for a tour of the distillery & museum. The 2nd Year & Culinary Students hit the ground running when they arrived at the kitchen to find that the cool room had frozen all the produce so it was all hands on deck. Michael & the judges went off to purchase more produce while the students foraged in the gardens, amended menus & prepared for the first heat, team work was the name of the game as managers, & culinary students all pitched in to help the second years get on their way only slightly later than anticipated. After lunch the culinary students were up & 3 hours later we were all headed back to Hobart for drinks & canapes at Glasshouse.

Wednesday morning well there was only one thing to say Ground Hog Day!!

The judges were expecting a repeat of the day before with 2 heats but we were all not expecting the cool room to have failed a second time…nothing like really making the playing field even for all competitors, luckily the ACF Tassie team decided to head down extra early just in case and by the time we arrived the new produce was being sorted for the competitors. The final year apprentices were a calming influence on the 1st years being experienced competitors, as they pitched in to help the first timers get a handle on what needed to be done for the day. The last session of the competition was the final year apprentices where the heat was really turned up & the judges took over an hour in deliberations to determine the winner. Time to relax & enjoy was had at New Sydney Hotel that evening.


Judges for the competition were Culinary Committee Chairperson & Vice President Andre Kropp, Tasmanian & Queensland presidents Stephen Lunn & Andrew McKenzie who accomplished the daunting task of tasting over 50 meals to determine the outcome. Special mention must be made to Michael Norton thanks you for his invaluable assistance for the weeks preceding the event coordinating things on the ground & especially for competition week where he was all places all the time.

Awards were presented to entrants from across the country & all competitors received medals & a 22cm knife from Furi Knives. For the first time in the history of the competition we had a tied result in the 2nd year apprentice category when the judges could not split the difference between Luke Roe from Tasmania & Jaymz Harris from Victoria. Culinary Student of the year went to Chollada Phanthong from Victoria, 1st year Apprentice Chef of the year was Rory McLeod Australia Capital Territory & 3rd Year Apprentice Chef of the year is Hugh Walters from Tasmania. The prizes awarded to the category winners included knives from Furi, pans from Solid Teknics, cook books & engraved Huon Pine Plaques.

The Champion Apprentice Chef again in a historical first went to the two second year apprentice chefs Luke Roe & Jaymz Harris & thanks to the generous support of Robot Coupe each lucky apprentice received a R211 Ultra food processor valued at over $2000 & a seven piece Knife set from Furi.


The National Apprentice Competition is a culmination of many apprentice competitions being held throughout the year in each state and territory and includes training chefs in each year of apprenticeship and a culinary students section. The best apprentice from each apprentice year and culinary student section from each state and territory are brought together to compete and decide the overall winners. The numbers of competitors, training schools, culinary educators that the NAC touches is staggering, with in excess of 4,000 culinary students and teachers, each with links to industry resulting in exposure to over 10,000 chefs throughout Australia.


Culinary Students
Layla Lawler NT                Bronze
Yan Ng QLD                       Bronze
Jimmy Kiley SA                 Bronze
Clinton Richardson TAS Participation
Chollada Phanthong VIC Bronze

1st Year Apprentice Chefs
Rory McLeod ACT      Silver
Paul Boaden NSW      Bronze
Joshua Carlos NT       Silver
Sarah Jones SA           Bronze
Laura Skvor VIC         Bronze
Nathan Ball WA          Bronze

2nd Year Apprentice Chefs
Sophie Schiliro ACT  Silver
Liam Gray NSW         Silver
Billy Wilkes NT          Silver
Alec Stemmler QLD Bronze
Nicola Warren SA     Silver
Luke Roe TAS           Silver
Jaymz Harris VIC     Silver
Tran Thi Ai Vo WA   Silver

3rd/4th Year Apprentice Chefs
Christopher Pont ACT Bronze
Maria Hoad NT             Silver
Bernadette Gill QLD    Silver
Truong Nguyen SA       Silver
Hugh Walters TAS       Silver
Molly Duguid VIC        Bronze
Jason Scott WA            Silver