Newcastle chefs ignite their culinary careers with national awards

Casey Parsons, 24, and Thomas Wesche, 18, who both work at Hunters Quarter, have impressed judges with their menu to win gold medals at the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Awards.

The friend/workmate team were happy with their performance and managed to keep their nerves in check to score top place. 

“I’m really happy with how everything went today, we’ve been putting in the practice and I think it really showed. Obviously, we were a bit nervous but once we got cooking everything just kind of fell into place,” Casey said.

Hosted at TAFE NSW, Parsons and Wesche created a two-course menu of pan roasted lamb rump with carrot, kohlrabi, cavolo nero and fresh ricotta for their main and a chocolate and orange mousse with caramelised white chocolate, orange, chilli and a coconut meringue for their dessert course.

The judging panel awarded them a gold medal, scored against globally recognised culinary standards. Rising stars Parsons and Wesche are now gearing up for their chance to do kitchen battle against the country’s top talent in the public arena at Fine Food Australia in Sydney this September.

Executive Chef and Nestlé Professional head judge Mark Clayton said the Nestlé GOLDEN CHEF’S HAT AWARD exists to support the professional development of young chefs. “This award is about pushing yourself to be a better chef. It offers young talent the opportunity to accelerate their culinary journey”.

As Australia’s longest running culinary competition for young chefs, the Nestlé GOLDEN CHEF’S HAT AWARD has been running for 54 years, offering the next generation of young chef talent a platform to create new opportunities, learn valuable skills and connect with industry peers in the culinary industry. 

The Newcastle cook-off is part of a series of NSW regional heats, with the overall winning team to be announced next Tuesday.

The 2019 national winning team will be awarded a $15,000 culinary trip of a lifetime to North America.