2017 Fonterra Proud to be a Chef winner crowned

2017 Fonterra Proud to be a Chef winner Giles Gabutina (centre), with Fonterra's Peter Wright, and program mentors Buddha Lo and Daniel Wilson.

Apprentice chef Giles Gabutina of Sydney’s Tetsuya’s has been named the winner of 2017 Fonterra Proud to be a Chef competition.

The announcement comes at the end of a four-day culinary and mentoring program that concluded at the RACV City Club for 34 apprentice chefs.

This year's competition saw each finalist cook an original recipe that was judge by a panel of foodservice leaders.

Coming out trumps was Gabutina’s compressed pineapple, coconut, lime and mint dish, along with his creativity, leadership and culinary dedication. 

Gabutina will receive a $7,500 international culinary scholarship tailored to his personal interests and goals as a professional chef. 

Previous winners have used their winnings to travel overseas to train under world leading chefs; 2016 Fonterra Proud to be a Chef winner, Jake McKenzie, just finished his month-long culinary placement at the Two Michelin Star, The Ledbury Hotel, in London, which ranks 14th on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

Gabutina says, "I came into the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program wanting to learn as much as I could, but I really was not expecting this.

"I put my heart into the four days and onto the plate. I am so thankful for the opportunity to work with such inspiring masterchefs.

"The whole experience has given me the chance to grow as both a chef and individual, and become more confident in myself."

The 2017 Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program also gave each of the 34 finalists the opportunity to build on their skills with field tours and culinary workshops with the program’s masterchefs, including Buddha Lo (Matteo’s Restaurant), as well as enjoyed dining events at some of Melbourne’s top restaurants.

Fonterra’s director of foodservice Jeff Dhu says, "For the past 18 years, Fonterra Proud to be a Chef has worked to achieve the same goal – to encourage, reward and recognise the future culinary leaders in foodservice, and to help each individual who participates in the mentoring program realise their potential in this industry."

Other outstanding performances at the 2017 Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program include Wei Lee of WA’s Crown Perth, who was crowned the Savoury Winner with his oriental duck l’orange, Samantha Levett of NSW’s Star Casino, who was awarded Best Use of Social Media, and ‘Harry’ Ha Chul Sung of QLD’s Moomoo Wine Bar & Grill who won Best Use of Dairy.

Gabutina was also named the Sweet Winner of the program. The award will see Gabutina together with Lee spend a one-on-one three-day training session in the kitchens of the program’s masterchefs.

With an estimated 28,000 chefs and cooks in demand across the nation over the next four years, the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef works to give back to the hospitality industry through fostering the next generation of Australia’s dedicated culinary talent. Famous alumni include George Calombaris and Buddha Lo.

For further information, please visit fonterraproudtobeachef.com.au.