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Students Shine in State Final of Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award

At 22 years of age, Jimmy Han, a Stage 3 Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery student and commis chef at award-winning ARU (The Age Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year – Victoria) won the Victorian Cook-Off of the Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award competition.

Believing that being a chef is his mission in life, Jimmy wowed the judges with two brilliant dishes – a main course of pork loin with sweet potato puree, sautéed leek and black garlic jus and a dessert comprised of a chocolate coffee brownie with whipped cream, torched orange and strawberry and orange syrup.

Jimmy entered the competition to see how much he had improved since participating in other competitions a couple of years ago. "I feel very proud of myself and very honoured to be the winner for Victoria. I was glad to learn from other chefs during the competition and it was a pleasure to compete with them," stated Jimmy.

"I started cooking when I was 10 years old and I find being a chef very enjoyable. Cooking is a major part of my life," he added.

The Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award competition offers apprentice and young chefs a unique opportunity to improve and showcase their skills, opening doors for their current and future career prospects . To be eligible, participants need to be working in the culinary field and be aged between 16 and 25 years old.

According to William Angliss Institute Cookery Program Leader Nick Blackmore, no matter where you finish, the benefits of competing against student competitions is priceless. "You get to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. You are cooking not only against your fellow chefs, but also the clock. Every minute counts!" he explained.

"From an employer's perspective, if you are looking to hire staff and one of your candidates has been competing in competitions, whether they've won or not, it shows they are keen to improve, challenge themselves and prepared to put in the hard yards to better themselves," added Nick.

Jimmy plans to keep pushing himself and learning more about the industry and from other chefs. "Someday I'll open my own restaurant and will be proud to present my own dining experience to guests," continued Jimmy.

The Australian Culinary Foundation judging panel rated each dish to globally recognised culinary standards, awarding Jimmy an overall gold. This has secured him a trip to Sydney in September where he will represent Melbourne in the grand final of the 2023 Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award competition and where one winner will be crowned Golden Chef of the Year.

Commercial Development Chef at Nestlé Professional Elke Travers said, "For close to six decades we've proudly supported more than 7,500 chefs to advance their culinary careers. Being part of the Golden Chef's Hat competition gives the next generation of chefs the opportunity to put themselves to the test, improve their cooking skills and connect with like-minded chefs as well as the broader industry. Jimmy really delivered on the day with a considered and well executed menu that stood out from the rest."

This year, 10 of the 16 who participated in the Victorian Cook-Offs were William Angliss Institute students. Kudos also to Antheny Arezzolo , Dinh Thien Duc Dang, Noah Horton and Worawut Phakdivanichakul for winning silver medals and Chris Milligan, Kathryn Westwood and Xavier Hulett for winning bronze medals.

Previous state winners include Angliss graduates Harrison Caruana and Stephanie Goetz and Max Burke.

Nick said that all the competitors applied themselves skillfully. "The overall standard of the competitors was very good with a couple of standouts. Jimmy's culinary skill and techniques were spot on. His food looked great and importantly tasted great too. He was very well organised and that showed during his cook off and plate up."

"We are very proud of Jimmy and all our William Angliss Institute trainee Chefs and proud to continue our partnership with Nestlé Professional, working together to share industry best practices in innovation and skills training," added Nick.

"In unfamiliar surroundings what stood out for me was that ,although things didn't always go to plan, the young chefs adapted to the situation, thought on their feet and made the most of it. In true hospitality style, they delivered the goods when it counted," added Nick.

Start your career in Cookery by visiting Open Day at our Melbourne campus on 12 August 2023 and at our Sydney campus on 26 August 2023. You can also contact or call +613 8595 5334.

Published 26 July 2023