Victorian chef Paul Golding, Head Chef at Bunjil Place, has won the Bocuse d’Or Australia’s coveted ‘Golden Knife’ trophy and the opportunity to represent his country in the world’s most prestigious culinary competition.
Held at Foodservice Australia in Melbourne on Sunday 30 April, the competition saw Golding, Head Chef at Bunjil Place, and his Commis Chef Chris Milligan from Maha, compete against three other Finalists and their assisting Commis Chefs.
Chef Amber Heaton and Commis Chef Abbey Kuhnell from The Star Gold Coast won the Silver Knife, while Chef Trevor Jenkins from Holmesglen Institute and his Commis Bethany Harman from Vue de Monde took home Bronze, as did Chef Tommy Prosser from Hospitality Works and Commis Isabel Macdonald from TAFE NSW Ryde.
Abbey Kuhnell from The Star Gold Coast was named ‘Best Commis’ of the competition, an award that recognises young talent and the potential to continue competing at an elite level.
The elite contest was judged by a stellar lineup of 14 chefs led by Bocuse d’Or Australia President Tom Milligan and Honorary Life President Philippe Mouchel, and was compèred by Scott Pickett and Donna Demaio.
This is the second time Paul has competed at the Bocuse d’Or Australia, in 2022 he placed second to Alex McIntosh, who went on to compete at the Grand Final in Lyon in January. Meanwhile Commis Chef Chris Milligan was inspired to compete following in the footsteps of his father, President Tom Milligan, who represented Australia in Lyon in 1995.
“There is nothing in the world like the Bocuse d’Or, this is the ultimate challenge for any chef, and I am so excited for the journey ahead now that I have won this first step on the Road to Lyon,” Paul says.
Each Chef and Commis had five-and-a-half hours for two challenges – a vegetarian entrée using pine mushrooms and chestnuts, then a platter featuring a whole lamb saddle and lemon myrtle. Each had to be served with three different side garnishes and a sauce.
Tom Milligan says the standard this year was extremely high, and the scores were very close. He hopes that this year’s silver and bronze finalists will all return to try again, noting that each of the past three Australian winners achieved gold on their second attempt.
As well as the Golden Knife trophy, Paul has won a trip to compete in the Bocuse d’Or Asia Pacific next year, a Robot Cook professional cooker cutter blender from Robot Coupe, and a knife roll with tools from Chef’s Hat.
“I congratulate everyone who competed on Sunday and want to thank the sponsors, partners, judges and MCs who brought the event to life,” adds Tom. “This year’s contest was even bigger and better than ever before, and we see a great future ahead for Paul and Team Australia.”