Our Story

The Proud to be a Chef program recognises, develops and supports apprentice chefs to become the culinary leaders of tomorrow.

Investing in the foodservice industry at a grass roots level assists in the continuous improvement and development of culinary standards and professionalism in Australia.

Each year, Anchor™ Food Professionals provide the opportunity for 32 aspiring, young apprentice chefs to embark on a remarkable culinary experience. In February 2024, finalists will fly to Melbourne for a 4-day food adventure, introducing apprentices to a series of extraordinary dining experiences and trips to some of Australia’s most famous food inspired locations.

Proud to be a Chef is a diverse and fast-paced mentoring programme led by 3 inspirational, Australian mentors. Previous guests and mentors have included Lisa Van Zanten, Adrian Richardson, Shannon Martinez, Christy Tania, Scott Pickett, Charlie Carrington, Frank Camora, Tony Twitchett, Anna Polyviou, Teague Ezard, Josh Pelham, Darren Purchese, Adam D’Sylva, Daniel Giraldo, Kay-Lene Tan and more.

Over 600 apprentice chefs have participated in the Proud to be a Chef program since it's commencement in 1996. At the conclusion of the program each year, the judges and masterchefs select one apprentice to award a culinary scholarship for their demonstrated commitment to their profession and their passion for food. Past recipients include:

  • 2023 Archer Houghton
  • 2020 Amber Heaton
  • 2019 Joel Nobel
  • 2018 Rebekah White
  • 2017 Giles Gabutina
  • 2016 Jake McKenzie
  • 2015 Mitchell Tucker
  • 2014 Ashlee Carter
  • 2013 Jacob Hoskin
  • 2012 Sonja Dawson
  • 2011 Keryn van Kempen
  • 2010 Kate Ager
  • 2009 Robin Turner
  • 2004 Matthew Morris
  • 2003 Jonathon Kemble
  • 2002 Matthew Macartney
  • 2001 Candice Webber
  • 2000 Megan Knapp
  • 1999 George Calombaris
  • 1998 Karena Dunn
  • 1997 Rebecca Studer
From all over Australia
All Expenses paid
Mentor chefs
Learn from industry greats
International Prize
Choose your destination

The Program

Giving back to the industry

Our goal is to Encourage, Reward and Recognise future culinary leaders in foodservice.

  • Experiences Offer extracurricular experiences to apprentice chefs.
  • Relationships Provide the opportunity to develop relationships with current and future chefs and educators.
  • Education Learn how to get the most from dairy products in a commercial kitchen.

Mark Normoyle

Mark is currently an Executive Chef Consultant in Australia, Asia and beyond with key roles as Wagyu Beef ambassador for the Gifu prefecture of Japan, Yuzu ambassador for Kochi Japan, Executive chef for Tune Hotel Group Malaysia and Executive Chef for the Royal Melbourne show 2019. His career highlights to date have been hosting food and culture tours to Japan, India, Vietnam Cambodia and Sri Lanka and working alongside the original Iron Chefs of Japan.

Joane Yeoh

Meet the founder and executive pastry chef of Kōri Ice Cream, a Japanese-inspired ice cream atelier that emerged onto the scene in August 2022, situated in the vibrant city of Melbourne, Australia. With a decade of experience, Joane Yeoh has honed her skills working in various esteemed restaurants and patisseries. Her passion for her craft has been recognised through accolades such as being named a finalist in the Good Food Guide's 'Young Chef of the Year' 2022, as well as being nominated as one of the MFW 2022's "30 under 30" young chefs as well as Nestlé Professional 30 Under 30 winners for 2019 in Victoria, Australia. Prior to venturing into the realm of ice cream, Joane’s career revolved around the fine dining restaurant industry, where she fell in love with the art of crafting plated desserts. Seeking to enrich her skills, Joane took up positions in establishments such as the Chocolate Academy Tokyo and Narisawa, a renowned restaurant ranked 8th in the World's 50 Best Restaurants list and the top-ranked in Japan during that time. Alongside her role as the head pastry chef at CODA, a modern Asian restaurant in Melbourne, Joane embarked on a personal sweet project that allowed her to curate themed dessert degustations. Throughout this endeavor, she has been fortunate to have the support and guidance of her mentor, Bernard Chu, as they work together to build a sweet empire, starting from Kōri Ice Cream. An empire we all cannot wait to indulge in and a mentor we eagerly await to see in action next February.

Stephen Nairn

Meet the executive chef and Scottish-born virtuoso behind the highly sought-after culinary experiences situated in the heart of Melbourne’s inner Eastern suburb of South Yarra. With a wealth of fine dining experience to boast, chef Stephen Nairn brings the collective teachings from his time at the high-profile postings of Matilda, Vue de Monde and New York’s 3-Michelin Star, Eleven Madison Park to his kitchens at OMNIA and Yugen. To his large and diverse team, Stephen has championed the importance of community. His restaurants capture the warmth of his personality and bring to life his passion for old style hospitality. Stephen’s commitment to his craft is typified by his appreciation for sourcing great products and using them at their peak. These details have driven diners to Stephen’s door and to no surprise, his work is being recognised amongst the very best. Nominated in the Good Food Guide’s ‘Chef of the Year’ 2023 category and Yugen for ‘Best New Restaurant,’ we all keenly await to see what’s next for Stephen and his team and can’t wait to see them in action next February.

32 finalists from across Australia will participate in an all expenses paid, 4 day culinary journey in February 2024.

Highlights of the program will include:
  • Masterclasses A mixture of hands on and demonstrative classes will ensure finalists leave the program with more skills and culinary knowledge than when they arrived.
  • Fine dining The program aims to expose the finalists to a range of dining styles and cuisines and a chance to experience the other side of the kitchen, in restaurants that are often unattainable on an apprentice chef’s wage

Who can enter?

Apprentice chefs that are passionate about food, are committed to the foodservice industry and love to learn and try new experiences should enter the program.

To be eligible for entry you must be:
  • An apprentice chef aged 18 years or older as of 4 February 2024
  • Enrolled in a Government recognised cooking course at the date of entry into the competition
  • A resident of Australia
  • Successful applicants may be subject to reference
    checks as part of the entry criteria

How to Apply

To complete your application, you’ll need create an original recipe and tell us why you are passionate about food and cookery, where you would like your apprenticeship to take you and what you are hoping to get out of the mentoring program.

Your recipe must meet the following requirements:
  • Includes at least one Anchor™ FP ingredient
  • Prep time is no more than 30 minutes
  • Cook time no more than 2 hours
  • The ingredients you are using will be in season in February next year
  • The recipe serves 2 people
  • The recipe can be made with shared access to specialist equipment (such as deep fryers, blast chillers, circulators)

Download the Anchor™ Food Professionals product catalogue here

Applications close Sunday 22 October

The Prizes

Grand Prize

Culinary Scholarship

Being selected as one of 32 finalists is an exceptional prize, and one standout apprentice is crowned the winner of the Proud to be a Chef event, winning a Culinary Scholarship tailored to their individual aspirations as a professional chef.

Award for Participation and Dish

Three additional winners will also be announced for their outstanding achievements.

Anchor™ Food Professionals Family

Western star
Perfect italiano
William Angliss Institute