BALLARAT chef Liam Downes is representing the city in the upcoming Golden Plate Awards.
Head chef of The Lane restaurant at The George Hotel, Mr Downes, 28, is joined by eight other top regional chefs who will battle it out for the top gong.
Now in its 10th year, the Best Chef State Award component of the awards will see the winner fly business class to Europe for the trip of a lifetime.
Beating numerous other top chefs from across Victoria, Mr Downes said it was both a shock and an honour to get so far.
“I really didn’t think I’d get this far,”Mr Downes said.
“To reach this point is an honour in itself and to be held in the same regard as some of the best chefs around is quite special.”
Mr Downes made the cut after successfully beating others in a “mystery box” cooking competition in Melbourne recently.
Wowing the judges, he cooked a herb crusted salmon fillet for entree and duck breast with a carrot puree for main.
Mr Downes will find out at Monday night’s gala event at The Regent Cinema if he has made the cut to be in the running for the state title.
A big player in Australian hospitality awards, The Golden Plate Awards program aims to promote excellence in the hospitality industry throughout regional Victoria.
Some of the categories of the award include best casual dining, best value for money and best coffee.
Judge Kevin Moloney said the awards were not just good for the profile of a business, they also offered the opportunity for some expert feedback.
“The greatest thing is the recognition that the restaurant or the chef will receive,” he said.
The Golden Plate Awards will be held at 6pm on Monday, October 14, at the Regent Cinema.