A mighty fine plate of beef short ribs with roast celery vinaigrette has secured Attica's Peter Gunn a trip to Italy to compete with the world's top up-and-coming kitchen talent. Gunn impressed some of Australia's most celebrated chefs to win the local heat of the inaugural S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 in Melbourne on Monday night.
The talented sous-chef flies to Milan in June to represent the Australia-Pacific region with esteemed Melbourne chef Jacques Reymond by his side as a mentor.
Reymond was on the judging panel with Peter Gilmore (Quay), Guy Grossi (Grossi Florentino), Peter Doyle (Est) and Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater). The judges scored each finalist in five categories: ingredients, skill, originality, presentation and overall message.
It was Gunn's Cape Grim beef short rib that stood out for each of the judges. The New Zealander has a solid pedigree, having worked under Teage Ezard at Ezard and Dan Hunter at Dunkeld's Royal Mail Hotel before joining Ben Shewry at Attica four years ago.
Another Melbourne chef finished a close second. The European's Kay-Lene Tan presented a panna cotta described by Reymond as among the best he had ever tasted.
Third place was taken by Chris Chilvers, the sous-chef at South Australia's Elbow Room, for his wood-roasted South Australian cockles with glazed eel, native succulents and lamb consommé.
More than 3000 young chefs from around the globe entered the competition by sending recipes and photos of their personal signature dishes. To qualify for the competition they needed to be under 30 and have been working as a chef, sous-chef or chef de partie for at least a year.
The other Australian-Pacific finalists were Hajime Horiguchi (chef, Sushi Minamishima, Victoria), Jordan Gerhardy (chef, Noosa Beach House, Queensland), Punit Fernandes (chef de partie, Mesh, Victoria), Richard Crawford (chef, Salt House, Queensland), Thomas Hishon (chef, Orphans Kitchen, New Zealand), William Moridido (chef de partie, Chiko Restaurant & Cafe, New Zealand) and Xin Jing (chef de partie, Cocoro Japanese Restaurant, New Zealand).
Stay tuned for more news on Gunn's progress when we pick up the story in June.