The National Finalists for the Young Chef and Young Waiter categories in the annual Appetite for Excellence Awards have been revealed, including Brisbane’s own Jordan Monkhouse.

Young Waiter and Young Chef national finalists were selected by a judging panel of industry leaders including Mark Best, Peter Gilmore, Luke Mangan, Nick Hildebrandt, Lisa van Haandel and Dave Pynt.

As part of the judging criteria, the chefs had to cook a two course meal in a series of Cook-Offs and young waiters had to demonstrate their service skills and knowledge in a pop-up restaurant at the Wait-Off.

Marque’s Mark Best and Young Chef Electrolux Appetite for Excellence judge says it’s exciting to see the calibre of entrants in the awards strengthen each year.

“This year we’ve had some of our best young chefs, waiters and restaurateurs in the awards yet,” he says.

“We’re lucky to have a large and diverse pool of young hospitality talent in Australia, and it’s important to help foster the growth of industry up-and-comers so that Australia’s hospitality sector can continue to shine.”

The national finalists – representative of some of the best young waiters and chefs that Australia has to offer – include Jordan Monkhouse from Aria Brisbane (Young Chef category) and Morgan Golledge and Natasha Janetzki of Blackbird Bar & Grill in QLD (Young Waiter category).

Originally from Perth, Aria Chef Jordan Monkhouse is the only Queensland finalist in the Young Chef awards category this year.

“To be a national finalist in the Appetite for Excellence awards is amazing,” he says.

“Through this program, I have met some of Australia’s best young talent and some of the most respected chefs this country has to offer. It has been something I never thought would happen, and to be honest, I almost didn’t apply as it was a daunting task but at last minute I finished my application form and here I am.”

“I look forward to the produce tour in July and the awards night in August where the winner will be announced.”

All Electrolux Appetite for Excellence National Finalists will take part in an educational Produce Tour in NSW in July, to meet farmers, harvesters and producers in a key food region.

The National winners for the Young Chef, Restaurateur and Waiter categories will be crowned at the Appetite for Excellence Awards Ceremony in Sydney on 8 August.