Proud to be a Chef  2024 unearths the next generation of culinary stars


The Proud to be a Chef  2024 winners have been announced following a fast-paced mentoring program for 32 aspiring chefs from around Australia, with Georgia Manganas from The Shellharbour Club in Wollongong clinching a coveted international culinary scholarship.

Powered by Fonterra and Anchor Food Professionals, the Proud to be a Chef program aims to nurture and celebrate emerging culinary stars from across the country. Each year, top honors are awarded to outstanding individuals who have demonstrated exceptional skill, creativity, and passion for the culinary arts.

The judging panel comprised this year’s mentor chefs – Proud to be a Chef resident mentor and Anchor Food Professionals Executive Chef, Mark Normoyle; Executive Pastry Chef and Founder of Kōri Ice Cream, Joane Yeoh; and Executive Chef of Omnia Bistro and Yugen Dining and Tea Bar, Stephen Nairn.

The winners of Proud to be a Chef 2024 are:

International Culinary Scholarship: Georgia Manganas from The Shellharbour Club in Wollongong 

Mark Normoyle said that the primary focus of the program is about mentorship, rather than just a cooking competition, with the award given to a participant the mentors believe would really benefit from this investment in their career.

“Georgia was a quiet achiever in the group, and one the mentors considered to have grown the most during the program – we could see her grow day-by-day.

“She was incredibly engaged, always the first to put her hand up and we could see her quietly observing and taking everything in her stride. It’s exciting to see the new opportunities that will open for Georgia, now that she has the confidence to pursue them,” said Mark.

Georgia said that the program has been an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that not many people get to experience.

“The chefs you get to meet are next level. It’s been a real eye-opener to realise that as young apprentices we all start in a similar place, but that there are huge opportunities in the industry and through this program we get to see first-hand how far we can go,” said Georgia.

Georgia was a quiet achiever in the group, and one the mentors considered to have grown the most during the program – we could see her grow day-by-day.

Mark Normoyle, Anchor Food Professionals Executive Chef

Best Savoury Dish: Alan Andrews from Little Black Pig and Sons in Heidelberg, Victoria made lamb backstrap with potato fondant, celeriac puree, glazed shallots and charred leek. Alan’s recipe was hailed as a dish that Mark Normoyle would serve in any restaurant, where every single component was well-executed and used an old technique in a modern way.

Best Sweet Dish: Alfred Barretto from The Carlton Hotel, Melbourne made a fig and pear medley, which included several components including fig pannacotta, pear and fig sour cream ice cream and a coffee sauce. Not only was the dish delicious – the mentors were impressed with how Alfred prepared his cook from start to finish, helping to set him up for success. 

Fonterra Australia’s Director of Foodservice, Vic Landells, said that Fonterra – and its foodservice brand Anchor Food Professionals – started Proud to be a Chef almost 25 years ago to give young apprentices exposure to leading professional chefs through a life-changing mentoring program.

“As a business we believe in the value of education and mentorship, and by collaborating with leading chefs and training institutions from across Australia we aim to play a pivotal role in shaping a successful and sustainable future for the food industry.

“We couldn’t be prouder of how each participant has flourished throughout the program and can’t wait to see how they apply what they’ve learned to take the next step in their promising careers and inspire others in the industry," said Vic.

For more information about Proud to be a Chef 2024 visit Applications for the 2025 program will open later this year.