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Billy Fox (demi-chef, aged 20) and Ben Richards (TAFE NSW Hamilton apprentice chef, aged 23) have scored national recognition by becoming finalists in Australia’s longest running culinary competition.
The young guns that both work at Carrington Place, have cooked their way into the grand final of the 2017 Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award, which will be held in Sydney this September in front of a live audience.
Billy and Ben produced a silver-winning menu that included a standout dessert course of coconut and kaffir lime parfait with strawberry, ginger and green apple.
Having never competed in a professional cooking competition before, Ben rose to the challenge and is excited to be representing Regional NSW at the national final in September. 
“I’ve always wanted to give a cooking competition a go but haven’t really had the opportunity, that is until Billy started working at Carrington Place and encouraged me to enter given he’d done a few before and was looking for a teammate. It was a lot of fun even if the first hour was a bit stressful. It was also great to see what the other chefs were plating up, I was really impressed and proud of our region.”
As for Billy, it was a pleasant case of déjà vu having competed as a 2016 National Finalist. 
“I think we worked well as a team under pressure. Having competed before definitely helped, that first hour of ingredient prep is crucial to the overall comp and can be a make or break. It was quite close though, the other teams put up some great dishes but I am just super happy we came out on top and I’m looking forward to the final in September. Who knows, maybe we can take it out and win a trip to Vietnam!”.
Billy and Ben have secured themselves an all expenses paid trip to the National Final in Sydney this September, where they will battle it out in front of a live audience in purpose built kitchens at Fine Food Australia. This year’s national champions will be awarded a once in a lifetime culinary trip to Vietnam.
Executive Chef at Nestlé Professional, Mark Clayton says, "Taking part in the Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award makes 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.

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 is Australia’s longest running culinary competition for young chefs. 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.
Follow Billy and Ben’s journey to the finals at​ 

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