Polish Club sous chef Rich Bihag. Credit: Facebook

Rich Bihag, sous chef from the Polish Club in Ashfield, is among 32 professional chefs that have been selected to compete for the title of 2024 Chef of the Year.

“This year we had a record number of entries from around Australia and the quality was top notch,” according to competition director Peter Wright.

“That made it very hard for the judges to select the top 32 who will be competing live in the finals. We went for experience and also selected across a range of regions and industry sectors to mix it up.”

Other chefs that have been named finalists include LeeAnne Mohr from Surfair Beach Hotel, Harbour View Hotel executive chef Nicolas Liglet, Fullerton Hotel’s junior sous chef Jack Basoff, and Australian Venue Co area chef Evan Burrows.

Bihag is the only chef representing the licensed clubs industry.

The finalists will go head-to-head to produce their two best dishes using featured ingredients, all in front of a live audience at the competition, which will be held alongside the Foodservice Australia Expo at the International Convention Centre in Sydney from 19-21 May. There are $10,000 in cash and valuable prizes up for grabs.

“This is a real pressure test. Chefs compete against the clock and each other,” Wright said.

The competition will be judged by a line up of hospitality veterans: head judge and previous World Food Champion John McFadden, Claire Van Vuuren, Amanda Fuller, Jamie Gannon, Darren Templeman, Simon Sandall, Justin North and George Calombaris.

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