FORMER Hughenden State School student Braden Honnery has taken out the top prize in a national culinary competition.
The 20-year-old will now jet off to Germany for a month where he will work alongside Team Australia as they compete against the best of the best in world food preparation at the Culinary Olympics.
LEFT: Former Hughenden State School student Braden Honnery joined fellow North Queensland junior chef Adrian Winoto, 24, to win the 2012 Nestlé Golden Chefs Hat Award, and with it the careerchanging international travel prize to Europe, worth $15,000.
Mr Honnery joined fellow North Queensland junior chef Adrian Winoto, 24, to win the 2012 Nestl Golden Chefs Hat Award, and with it the career-changing international travel prize to Europe, worth $15,000.
Their achievements in culinary excellence were announced during an exclusive industry awards dinner at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins last week.
Mr Honnery, a chef at Michel's Restaurant in Townsville, and Mr Winoto, a chef at Essence, Jupiters Townsville, beat eight other finalist teams from around Australia, achieving one gold and two silver medals for culinary excellence.
During the national final cook-off, the pair had to create a three-course meal under the steely gaze of the professional judging panel.
Their medal-winning menu included an entr e of seared Harvey Bay scallops, barramundi boudin and crispy skin, creamed leek, soft-boiled quail egg, broad beans and tom yum froth.
While this wasn't the first time Mr Honnery had tested his skills in a competitive environment, this was the first major win he has had.
"It was definitely a nerve-wracking experience,'' he said.
"There was no live audience, but the judges were constantly walking around and watching us.
"This competition was judged 70 percent on taste and preparation, but also on things like hygiene and food wastage.''
Mr Honnery, who grew up on a property in Hughenden, said he owed all his culinary talents to his mother, grandmother and nanna.
"They were all great cooks and I enjoyed it, so when I had to decide on a career I thought, why not?'' he said.
"I did a school-based apprenticeship for two years while I was at boarding school in Charters Towers, and have been at Michel's now for three years.
"I plan to spend another few years in Townsville and then head overseas.''
The Nestle Golden Chef's Hat Award is the longest running chef's competition in Australia, and is dedicated to the development of junior and apprentice chefs.
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