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The 2019 national winning team will be awarded a $15,000 culinary trip to North America.

With the foodservice industry expected to grow 9 per cent, chefs, waiters and kitchenhands are in high demand.

Pasta Wafu combines Japanese and Italian flavours and techniques in a matrimony of umami.

The group’s original Queensland outlet in South Brisbane also recently closed.

After less than one year.

"Madonna booked her after-party with us. She arrived after 1.30am, she arrived at 1.45am, we couldn't let her into her own event because of the lockouts. How embarrassing is that?"

Waiters in vests, Champagne in magnums only, and classic cocktails.

With a utilitarian menu of transcontinental flavours, a hefty drinks list, and a dining room divided into three zones, this place means business.

We asked Mike McEnearney how the new venture (in the old No.1 Bent Street site) has been tracking.

And women from around the country dominated.

"There’s the ‘three greedy judges’ narrative, then there’s reality."

Owner Warren Turnbull is now taking the brand north.