Take Your Hospitality Career to the Next Level

Appetite for Excellence was established in 2005 and is Australia's most prestigious awards program for young talent working in hospitality, judged by the best in the industry. The applications for Appetite for Excellence 2019 are now open and include three different categories: Young Chef, Young Waiter, and Young Restaurateur. Read on to learn what the past applicants and finalists have been up to since and what you can expect should you choose to apply.

Take Your Hospitality Career to the Next Level - Appetite for Excellence


Our previous campaign, Humans of Hospo, highlighted individuals killing it in their field and feature Kylie Javier Ashton (Momofuku Seiōbo), Jared Merlino (Lobo Plantation, Kittyhawk, Big Poppa’s, Caffe Bartolo), and Brooke Adey (Chiswick, Bea), two of which have been closely involved with the prestigious Appetite for Excellence awards program. Kylie Javier Ashton was most recently on the judging panel for the 2018 program and Brooke Adey previously took home the title for Young Waiter of the Year.


We've also been following chef Mal Meiers' hospitality career, who is currently operating Food for Thought, a charity foundation in which he founded to raise awareness for mental health within the hospitality industry. The funds raised from Food for Thought go towards Lifeline and RUOK. Mal Meiers previously participated in the Appetite for Excellence, Young Chef program and was a national finalist. Mal offered some hospitality advice for younger chefs describes the experience as being "incredibly rewarding" and notes that he progressed through as a finalist the second time that he applied.


"The future of the hospitality industry nurturing Australia's next gen hospitality leaders"

Appetite for Excellence

Interested in having a successful career like Kylie's, Brooke's, or Mal's? Applying to the Appetite for Excellence programs could be the key to help you get there. 


What the program entails 

The exclusive program is described as "a program of application and judging, educational workshops and leadership mentoring activities, Appetite for Excellence identifies Australia's top young talent, puts them through their paces, challenges them to develop their skills and provides them with mentoring and education to nurture their success in becoming Australia's next generation of inspiring leaders."

"Meet industry leaders, engage with like-minded peers, challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone, gain constructive feedback from the judges, visit one of Australia's leading food-growing regions and learn about agriculture & viticulture, and, if you are the 2019 winner, travel overseas and experience a stagiaire at a world-renowned restaurant."


Appetite for Excellence is separated into three different categories: 

  1. Young Chef
  1. Young Waiter
  2. Young Restauratuer
Read on to discover if one of these programs could be right for you and you could be spring-boarding your career to the next level in 2019. 

New call-to-actionYoung Chef: Australia's most prestigious award for young chefs

If you're over 18 years of age and under 30 on 7th August 2019 and work professionally within a restaurant or catering industry in Australia, you've met the first two requirements needed to enter. To confirm the remaining five requirements, please visit the Young Chef page here

The judging process includes assessments based on creativity, presentation, costings, and written communication skills followed by a first-round cook-off. The cook-off includes a mystery box of ingredients or the recipe submitted by the finalist's application, keeping the hopeful chefs on their toes. The successful chefs from the first cook-off will be invited to a second one, followed by a third and final 3.5 hour cook-off which entails a 3-course menu, plating 4 portions of each course, using a mystery box of ingredients.

Please note that you must be available for certain dates in May, June, and August should you begin the application process.

Young Waiter: Australia's most prestigious (and as far as Appetite for Excellence is aware) only award for young waiters

Next up is Appetite for Excellence's Young Waiter award. This program has the same requirements as the Young Chef's. Please visit the Young Waiter page for the full list of requirements. 

The judges assess all eligible applicants and those successful will participate in a variety of sessions including masterclasses and workshops, one-on-one interviews, skills assessments, and a service "wait off" to name a few. The finalists from this stage will carry on to the final stage of judging, where the winner and runner-up will be announced in August.

For the Young Waiter program, applicants must be available for certain dates in June and August.

Young Restaurateur: Australia's only award recognising and mentoring young gun hospitality restaurateurs

Last but not least, Appetite for Excellence's Young Restaurateur celebrates "the dynamic people and teams leading the new wave of exciting, ground-breaking Australian restaurants". Have a look at the full list of requirements here to see if you're eligible. 

The judging process for the Young Restaurateur program evaluates each applicant's business that "illustrates a clear vision, strong leadership, forward-thinking, and innovation", to name a few. Over the course of two days, the selected young restaurateurs will participate in masterclasses, workshops, and individual interviews. 

The date requirements for this program include June and August.

Do you think you have what it takes? To learn more about all of the above awards and to apply, click here.

Are you looking for leading insight into the hospitality industry? Click below to subscribe to our blogs, updated weekly and full of tips and insights for all things hospitality below.

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Images sourced from: Appetite for Excellence

About the author Carlyn Shaw

Drawing on 12 years of hospitality experience and coming from a Communications background, I am passionate about all things hospitality.


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