Restaurant Awards

Finalists: Best New Talent

The annual awards are back. Here are the finalists for our Best New Talent Award where we highlight the up-and-coming chefs excelling in Australia's hospitality scene.
finalist portraits for the Gourmet Traveller Best New Talent Award

Finalists left to right: Blaze Young, Ollie Wong-Hee, Lauren Kinne and Mino Han

Presenting the finalists for Best New Talent.

Next month, we will reveal our winners and the full guide to Australia’s best restaurants at a glamorous gala evening at Brasserie 1930 in Sydney and in our September issue.

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And the nominees are…

Blaze Young, Nieuw Ruin.

Blaze Young, Nieuw Ruin | Fremantle, WA

Get the roly-poly prawn toasts. Get the tuna crudo with black fig and sesame oil. Get the curried fries. Get it all if you dare. At carefree Freo wine bar Nieuw Ruin, Blaze Young is cooking some of the west’s most intriguing, retro-leaning food and making it fiendishly easy to stay for one more. Best of all, she’s also overseeing the cooking at new Northbridge bar Edward & Ida’s, giving eaters even more opportunities to scope an emerging star on the rise.

In short: Nieuw-school old-school.

Lauren Kinne, Adelita Wine Bar.

Lauren Kinne, Adelita Wine Bar | Brisbane, QLD

Originally from Tasmania, chef Lauren Kinne moved to Brisbane after completing her apprenticeship. Stints at top restaurants followed, with her most recent position as sous chef of the closed fine-diner, Elska. Now based at Adelita Wine Bar in Brisbane’s bayside suburb of Wynnum, she’s shining in her first role as head chef. From a luxe choux bun filled with lobster head mousse, to a textbook duck terrine enclosed in puff pastry, locals are glad she made the move north.

In short: Tassie’s loss is Brissie’s gain.

Mino Han, Alt Pasta Bar.

Mino Han, Alt Pasta Bar | Melbourne, VIC

Mino Han is one of those “overnight success” stories where the success is years in the making. His CV includes stints in storied regional diners such as South Australia’s Appellation, building towards the opening of Melbourne’s Alt Pasta Bar. His work here brings freshness and vigour, a newness to a crowded market. It’s Han’s love letter to a revered classic, one also unafraid to go its own way.

In short: A breakthrough star takes his spotlight.

Ollie Wong-Hee, Bar Heather.

(Photo: Jess Kearney)

Ollie Wong-Hee, Bar Heather | Byron Bay, NSW

Having honed his skills in some of the country’s most celebrated kitchens – Ester, Franklin, and Sixpenny among them – Ollie Wong-Hee has made his headlining debut at Byron Bay’s Bar Heather. The flavour gauge is turned to “high” on even the smallest plates, and while Wong-Hee’s classic skill and broad experience are evident across the menu, it’s the touches drawn from his Southeast Asian heritage that make this cooking feel autobiographical and deeply personal.

In short: Cooking from the heart.

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