Meet this year’s Chef of the Year

Michael Cole plating his winning main course in the Chef of the Year Grand Final at Foodservice Australia.

After three gruelling days of competition, Michael Cole from Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula was earlier this month named the 2017 Professional Chef of the Year. (In a remarkable double act, he was also selected to be the Australian candidate for the Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Contest.)

The Chef of the Year is an annual competition that pits top professional chefs against each other and the clock. They have to produce their best dishes from a black box of ingredients and are judged by their peers.

Head judge John McFadden from the Parkroyal Sydney said Cole impressed the judges of both competitions with his cooking techniques and clean flavours.

“The difference in the kitchen came down to his technique—excellent food safety practices and bench work—and then a stunning finished product. Michael’s technical ability and confidence really showed on the plate.”

The Professional Chef of the Year is one of the most rewarding competitions in the country, with a total cash prize pool of $10,000. In addition, all four grand finalists took home a Unox Oven and $1000 marketing voucher from event Gold Sponsor Rare Medium.

“We are proud to be a sponsor under our Rare Medium banner” said MLA corporate chef and foodservice manager Sam Burke. “It shows us what’s happening out there with the product, how it’s being used in a foodservice environment. This has been an amazing experience and a highlight of my career to be involved.”

The Chef of the Year ran as part of the highly successful Foodservice Australia tradeshow in Melbourne. The next event will be held from 27-29 May 2018 at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.  Entries will open later this year at

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