21-year-old apprentice chef, Ashleigh Handsaker has earned a coveted spot in the grand finals of the 2023 Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award.
Ashleigh, who has been studying at Hamilton TAFE and working at Maitland restaurant Fratelli Roma, will now compete against 11 other top chefs from Australia and New Zealand at Fine Food Australia in Sydney this September.
The win is on the back of Ashleigh being named as the Brett Graham Culinary Scholarship recipient earlier this year.
The Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award is a highly regarded culinary competition that showcases the talent and skill of emerging chefs.
“I’m really focused on my career progression, I want to keep challenging myself and expand my culinary knowledge. This is the second time getting to the grand finals and I’m excited to keep elevating my journey as a chef,” Ashleigh said.
“It’s a confidence boost securing a top spot once again and I’m going to give it my absolute best.”
The apprentice chef earns the stop in the final with a two-course menu comprising of a main course of Pork Loin, Swiss chard and mushroom dumpling, sweet potato puree, caramelized leeks, parsley oil and jus.
For dessert, Ashleigh served up a White chocolate and honey panna cotta, strawberry jelly, coconut sponge and Italian meringue.
The ultimate winner of this year’s competition will be crowned Golden Chef of the Year and rewarded with a remarkable two-week European culinary experience.
The prize includes the opportunity to travel with the Australian Culinary Olympics Junior Team to the IKA Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart, Germany, as well as a culinary work experience stage in Europe.
Ashleigh is now one of 12 top chefs from across Australia and New Zealand who will do battle at Fine Food Australia in Sydney this September, where one winner will be crowned Golden Chef of the Year.