Victorian chef Joshua Pelham has accepted the challenge to represent Australia in the Bocuse d’Or, widely regarded as the most demanding culinary contest in the world.
The talented chef, who is Executive Chef at RACV Cape Schanck Resort, will be joined by Commis Chef Harrison Caruana, an apprentice at RACV City Club. They will begin training immediately under Head Coach Scott Pickett and a panel of senior chefs for the Bocuse d’Or Asia Pacific qualifier, to be held next year.
Pelham has dreamed of competing in the elite event ever since he watched Pickett training for Bocuse d’Or 2005.
“At the time I was an apprentice at Matteo’s with Scott’s Commis Chef Cate Robertson,” says Pelham. “She invited me to watch a training session, and I admired their level of discipline and focus. From that time on I was inspired to compete for Australia one day, so this really is a dream come true.”
Pelham went on to complete his apprenticeship at Fenix with George Calombaris, Raymond Capaldi and Gary Mehigan. Since then he has worked in London under Philip Howard at The Square and Kitchen W8, with Calombaris at The Press Club and The Hellenic Hotel, and as Pickett’s Head Chef at The Estelle. He joined RACV Resort Cape Schanck almost three years ago as Executive Chef.
President of Bocuse d’Or Australia Tom Milligan says Pelham has impressed the selection committee with his focus, drive and dedication, as well as his extraordinary cooking talent.
“Josh competed very well this year in both the Thierry Marx Career Development Award and also the Chef of the Year competition at Foodservice Australia,” says Milligan.
“In Chef of the Year, Josh was runner-up to Michael Cole, who competed for Australia in January, and I believe he has both the tenacity and the talent for Bocuse d’Or.
The next step for Pelham and Caruana is the Bocuse d’Or Asia-Pacific Selection 2020, where just five out of 12 competing teams will be selected to test their skills against some of the best chefs in the world, in Lyon in January 2021.
“It is exciting to see how the Australian team has evolved over the years,” reflects Milligan. “Our last two competitors Michael Cole and Dan Arnold have both achieved great things, as have their commis chefs, Laura Skvor and Ryan Cosentino.
“Our challenge now is to maintain the momentum and show the world our incredible produce and culinary flair.”
Joshua Pelham (right) and Harrison Caruana. Images by Sydney Low.