Golden Chef’s Hat Grand Finalists Announced

Congratulations are in order for two young Kiwi chefs after the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award announced the top ten Grand Finalists of the inaugural virtual culinary competition.

This year has been like no other. In response to the challenges presented by the hospitality lockdowns, the competition quickly pivoted from a regional cook-off in culinary kitchens across Australia, to video entry. A new trans-Tasman element was also introduced with the competition launching into New Zealand to support even more chefs.

The New Zealand North Island Grand Finalist is 22-year-old Sam Heaven from the Hawkes Bay who is currently working at The Park Hyatt Auckland.

“What motivates me the most is the fact that I’m third generation hospitality, my grandfather and my father were both pastry chefs and I really wanted to follow in their footsteps but I wanted to make my own path and make my own journey at the same time,” explained Heaven.

“I really wanted to use the passion that they passed down to me because hospitality is really in my blood, but I want to find my own way in this industry so that’s why I picked cookery.”

The New Zealand South Island Grand Finalist is 23-year-old Jamie Jackson from Christchurch who is currently working at Crockett Bar and Restaurant.

“One of the best bits of advice I’ve ever been given is just to never stop learning,” expressed Jackson. “We work in an industry that’s constantly evolving, so sometimes it can be hard to keep up. Being open to always wanting to learn from anyone at any time goes a long way to being successful in this industry.”

NZChefs National President Blues noted that it was refreshing, in this crazy time, to work alongside partners not only here in New Zealand with Nestlé Professional, but also in Australia with the Australian Culinary Federation.

“Having the opportunity for New Zealand chefs to be part of the Golden Chefs Hat competition and compete against their Ozzy counterparts is a huge plus,” said Blues.

“Given the number of New Zealand entries and the quality and passion showed throughout only goes to prove that, despite the challenges at present, our chefs still have the drive to compete and be the best they can. I wish our two finalists all the very best and I will be watching the live cook-off with a very close eye.”

The 2020 Chef of the Year will be awarded an AUD$10,000 cash prize to further their culinary career.

The Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award is celebrating 55 years this year and exists to offer the next generation of young chef talent a platform to accelerate their culinary careers and become the culinary leaders of tomorrow.

The Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award proudly partners with NZChefs and the Australian Culinary Federation who share in the collective vision of being dedicated to the development of young chefs and the future of the industry. We thank them for their ongoing support.

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