Ledbury alumni up the ante at tenth annual Hunter Culinary Association Food Fight

It was a gastronomic battle to be remembered when four of the country’s best up-and-coming chefs went head- to-head in the kitchen on 17 June for the Hunter Culinary Association’s (HCA) annual Food Fight.

Each had previously shared the honour of cooking beside the legendary Brett Graham at his acclaimed London Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury, but there could only be one winner among the alumni and on the day, this year’s title went to Thomas Boyd for his milk parfait, macadamia, honey and thyme dessert.

The annual Food Fight is the HCA’s signature event and this year’s – the tenth – certainly did not disappoint. It was a clash of champions that saw chefs Eilish Maloney (Formerly Saint Peter Paddington), Thomas Boyd (Margan), Troy Crisante (Quay Restaurant) and George Mirosevich (Restaurant Mason) muster their skills in the kitchen in an attempt to woo diners and take home the prestigious honour.

More than 320 guests were served an incredible four-course lunch at the event, with the chefs pulling out all stops to create a dish of their choice.

The first course was created by Eilish, who served dry aged snapper, last season’s birch fermented tomatoes and preserved lemon. Troy’s dish was the second course, a stunning nduja with peas and black olive. The third course created by George was a delicious roast and braised lamb with garlic and Jerusalem artichoke; and dessert was Thomas’s mouth-watering milk parfait, macadamia, honey and thyme.

HCA Chairman Gus Maher said the standard of the Food Fight was incredible. “The quality of the food presented by each of the chefs was impressive,” he said.

‘What’s extra special about this event is that it not only gives chefs a forum to showcase their talents, but the Food Fight auction we hold on the day also raises money for our range of scholarships. The Brett Graham Scholarship is one of those, providing a young chef the opportunity to work with Brett Graham at The Ledbury – an incredible experience shared by each of today’s chefs.

“Once again, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of members and guests at the event which will change the course of an aspiring chef’s career by giving them the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Another winner on the day was renowned Hunter Valley restaurateur Andrew Wright of The Cellar Restaurant and The Wood Restaurant. Andrew is a passionate advocate for the Hunter culinary industry and was one of the co-founders of the Association. He was recognised and awarded with the highest honour of Outstanding Contribution by an Individual.