Chris Barnett and Mitchell Edwards win bronze medals at 2017 Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award

TWO Upper Hunter chefs have had their cooking skills recognised in Australia’s longest running culinary competition.

Muswellbrook’s Chris Barnett, 21, an apprentice chef at The Cottage, and Scone’s Mitchell Edwards, 20, an apprentice chef at The Remington Motor Inn, went hat-to-hat at TAFE NSW Tamworth campus in the 2017 Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award this week – and brought home bronze medals.

One of nine heats across the country, the NSW regional cook-off saw 10 teams step up to the plate, going all out to deliver their best dishes on the day to be judged against nationally recognised culinary standards.

Barnett and Edwards created a two-course menu of lamb saddle with mint oil, carrot butter puree and crispy potato cubes topped with a red wine and veal sauce for their main and coconut mousse with orange infused cream and marbled chocolate for their dessert course.

The pair entered the Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award to see how they would stack up against other youngsters.

“We’ve never competed in any culinary competitions before and with it being held at our TAFE we thought we’d give it a go,” Barnett said.

“It was a lot of fun and a great opportunity for us to hone our skills.”

Executive Chef at Nestlé Professional Mark Clayton said taking part in the Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award made you push yourself to the next level.

“Competing is vital to the professional development of young chefs, you learn so much from this type of experience,” he said.

“Putting yourself up to be judged on your culinary talent is tough, but this is ultimately how you hone your skills, build your networks and get your name out there.”

The Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award has been running for 52 years.

And, 2017 has seen more chefs enter across the country than ever before, with this year’s finalists set to go on to be some of the industry’s brightest talents.

The winning team from the regional NSW heats will go forward to the National Final in Sydney this September, to battle it out in front of a “live” audience in purpose-built kitchens at Fine Food Australia. 

This year’s national winning team will be awarded a once in a lifetime culinary trip to Vietnam.