Meet the winner and finalists of the Young Chef of the Year Award Victoria 2022

The Age Good Food  – 22nd November 2021
Article By Michael Harry 
Meet the next generation of culinary talent who are dreaming big for the future. After sifting through dozens of excellent applications from some of Victoria’s best young chefs, four professionals were chosen as finalists for the state’s Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year Award 2022.
Pieter Buijsee, Senior sous chef, Laura at Pt. Leo Estate

Career highlight Being part of a team at Hof Van Cleve in Belgium in 2013 that achieved the number 25 ranking on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. It was my first time working in a Michelin three-star restaurant alongside some incredible chefs and the perfect way to finish a year of hard work, dedication and professional growth.

Favourite Australian chef From a humble background, Tetsuya Wakuda worked his way up in the kitchen to eventually owning his own restaurant(s) and is regarded as one of Australia’s most original, creative and successful culinary talents. His story motivates me to continue working hard to achieve my goals.

The chef I’d love to work with Thomas Keller at The French Laundry. After working under Phil Wood (former culinary director of Pt. Leo Estate, who recently opened Ursula’s in Sydney), it was evident how much Keller had influenced Phil’s style of cooking and leadership – it’s something I aspire to learn from Thomas first hand.

Favourite food book I received a copy of Le Repertoire de la Cuisine [the ultimate bible of French cooking, written in 1914] at the age of 13. I was going to culinary school and had just started working as a kitchen porter. As much as food trends change and cooking techniques are forever evolving, I still often fall back on it.

Most memorable dish As a 14-year-old boy, my parents took me to a Michelin two-starred restaurant called De Kromme Watergang near where we lived in the Netherlands. As a main course they served a pigeon cooked rare on the crown with beautifully crisped skin. That night after dinner I asked if I could speak to the chef, and if I could work for him. I worked there as a commis for three years.

The future of restaurant food If there is one positive we can take from life during COVID-19, it would be that more people are supporting local producers and suppliers. Buying local and having that connection with fishermen, butchers, fruit farmers, is going to continue. The days of serving imported strawberries out of season is well and truly over.

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