Gone are the days of $5 all-you-can-eat club meals, as clubs across the state prove they are at the cutting edge of great food.
Chefs from NSW clubs will come together in Sydney on Tuesday to battle it out in the industry’s most prestigious cooking competition – the Chef’s Table.
Chef’s Table recognises and rewards the culinary talents of chefs, cooks and apprentices in NSW clubs.
Chefs who work in registered clubs from Tweed Heads in the north to Wagga Wagga in the south will exhibit their skills in a competition cook-off, held over two days at Ryde TAFE.
ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said the competition aimed to showcase the industry’s highly accomplished chefs.
“Many of Sydney’s finest restaurants are inside registered clubs, offering a vast array of dining options to patrons,” Mr Ball said.
“Our industry is fortunate to have so many gifted chefs who produce thousands of quality meals to suit any taste bud, and Chef’s Table is all about illustrating this enormous amount of talent.”
The dishes will be judged by renowned executive chefs Julio Azzarello and Adam Moore as well as former Masterchef contestant Courtney Roulston,
Winners from the cook-off will be announced at a gala dinner at Chef’s Table partner venue Doltone House in Sydney on July 24.
Meet the chefs
The town will be represented by Armidale City Bowling Club’s head chef, Carl Hofkamp and chef Angelo Rollo.
The duo will compete for the first time in the competition and look forward to showcasing their skills to industry peers.
“This is a great opportunity, particularly for Angelo, to get exposure to other chefs from across the state,” Mr Hofkamp said.
“We’ve had fun playing around with the three courses that we have to cook. Angelo has more experience with desserts, with entrée and main more my domain, and we’re aiming to use local ingredients.”
Dooleys’ chefs Sam Sou and Mathew Platersky, who both work as chef de parties at the club, are going to test their culinary skills.
“Both chefs are talented up and comers who have been with us for the past eight months,” Dooleys’ executive head chef Paul Jury said.
“This competition will provide the pair with valued experience, it’s a great opportunity to showcase their skills to the wider industry.”
“We’ll all be cheering them on and hopefully they come away with the win and bring the trophy back to Lidcombe.”
Dylan Osmond and Darren Jonathan will represent Tweed Heads Bowls Club. They both work at the club’s restaurant nineteen21 and were named finalists at last year’s competition.
“The competition has really strict criteria with the dishes they have to cook, so they will be looking to use the ingredients within the guidelines, but in a modern way,” Tweed Heads Bowls club executive Brad Whittaker said.
Campbelltown Catholic Club will be represented by Kyubi head chef Anthony Sellars and Kyubi chef Laxmi Sahukhal.
“Both chefs are from our upmarket restaurant Kyubi, and this competition is a good opportunity to showcase their skills,” Campbelltown Catholic Club executive chef Paul Rifkin said.
“They’re aiming to make the ingredients speak for themselves, it will be about simplicity of flavour, because that’s the strength of Kyubi.”
The Epping Club’s executive chef Nick Whitehouse and sous chef Curtis Prior will be competing where Nick hopes the competition will challenge his young chef to step up and demonstrate his skills to industry peers.
“I’m stronger in desserts but with that in mind I’ll probably get Curtis to make most of the dessert because I like pushing people’s weaknesses to make them stronger,” Nick said.
“Clubs have shifted away from $5 all-you-can-eat meals, they’re definitely dipping their toes in the water in terms of food trends. Every time I put a menu together I like to have a theme, so our theme for the competition will be smoky, earthy flavours.”
Kiama Leagues Club’s sous chef Lauren Nealy and apprentice Jess Cooper are heading to Sydney from the South Coast.
While Lauren participated last year and was named a finalist, it’s hoped the team can go one step further this year.
“We got in the top 10 last year so if we can do that or even beat that this year we will be doing really well,” Kiama Leagues Club head chef Warren Jouannet said.
“Both are very good at desserts and they’re a yin and yang, they really balance each other well.
“Their three-course meal will highlight many cooking techniques to demonstrate to the judges their vast skills, to really show that they don’t just serve any old style club food.”
North Sydney will be represented by The Greens’ head chef Adam Turnbull and sous chef Joel Moyes.
The duo is competing for the second time and hope their competition experience will help them go all the way this year.
“We do a very high standard of food at the club and we’ll be taking those standards to the competition with similar techniques that we would usually use,” Adam said.
“We’ve been practising two days per week, working to time constraints in the same way the competition will run.
“I’m very imaginative while Joel is more level headed and grounds me a bit. Together, we’ll be putting our best foot forward.”
The Mid North Coast town will be represented by Club Old Bar’s head chef Anthony Jenkins and sous chef Nicole Luckhurst.
Anthony was named a finalist in 2009 and hopes he can go one step further this time around.
“It’s great to just be a part of the competition, Nicole has never competed before and even if we don’t go through to the end it still showcases the club industry,” Anthony said.
“With our three-course menu we’ll be aiming to do classic dishes with a contemporary feel. Nicole is really good with dessert and I’ll concentrate on the entrée and main.”
The town will be represented by Wagga RSL Club’s pastry chef Harrison Ng and second year apprentice Jessica Glass. Harrison is no stranger to Sydney, having made a tree-change earlier this year from a hatted restaurant in the city.
Catering manager Mathew Oates said the competition would provide a great opportunity for the two chefs.
“It’s a good thing to bring new ideas to the country through working with chefs from other clubs so that we can all share ideas,” Mathew said.
“Harrison and Jessica work closely together on a weekly basis so hopefully they will do well in the competition.”