We’re thrilled to introduce our key judges for the 2024 competition!


Karen Doyle

Australian Culinary Federation National President


Originating from Ireland, Karen has worked in various five-star hotels and fine dining restaurants and brings strong international culinary industry experience to the table, having worked her way up the ranks to Head Chef and restaurant owner.

Amongst her many accolades, Karen is a gold medal winner and overall winner of the Restaurant of Champions, Salon Culinaire. Karen continues to judge both internationally and nationally and is active in many national and international culinary organisations. Heading up the Vocational and Higher Educational programs at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, Sydney. Karen leads a team of international chefs and lecturers that have worked across the globe. Karen firmly believes in fostering education and training in young apprentices, culinary students and chefs.

“Vital opportunities like this offer chefs a chance to showcase their skills and compete with their peers. It’s an essential part of their career advancement. We’re proud to continue our successful partnership with Nestlé Professional and support the future of this industry together."

Karen Doyle
Andre Kropp

Andre Kropp

Australian Culinary Federation Vice President


Originating from Cape Town, South Africa, and with a culinary career spanning over 26 years, Andre has worked extensively in Europe, Africa and now Australia and has regularly participated in international cooking competitions, including the Culinary Olympics 1996 and 2000 and Culinary World Cup 1998, representing South Africa. He was a member of the Australian National Culinary Team, winning gold and silver medals at the 2008 and 2012 Culinary Olympics in Germany, as well as the Singapore Culinary Challenge 2010. Andre was the founding President of the Australian Culinary Federation – Tasmanian Chapter - and in 2015 was elected to the position of National Vice President with the primary role of heading up the culinary committee. Employed by the Federal Group for the last 15 years as Executive Chef at The Henry Jones Art Hotel and now Wrest Point Hotel and Casino, Andre oversees a Brigade of 70 chefs.

“I pride myself on investing time to train and mentor young chefs through culinary competitions, so they can become sought after chefs in our industry."

Karl Seidel

Nestlé Professional Advisory Chef


Staying ahead of culinary trends and delivering innovation to the chef community is the role of Nestlé Professional Commercial Advisory Chef Karl Seidel.

As Nestlé Professional’s ambassador to the chef community of New Zealand, Karl regularly showcases the versatility of Nestlé Professional products including creative application techniques and new recipe development. He works in partnership with chefs and others who are searching for fresh ideas and inspiration on how to innovate menus while also meeting the demands of New Zealand’s fast-paced and dynamic hospitality environment.

During his career, Karl has worked as a chef in numerous hotels across the UK and South Africa. He has also owned a café, catering company and restaurants, and managed a family boutique hotel.

He forms part of an extensive global network of around 220 other Nestlé Professional advisory chefs.

Karl Seidel

Hughie Blues

National Ambassador, NZChefs


Hughie was the chef and co-owner of the award winning Waikokopu Cafe on the Treaty Grounds Waitangi for 15 years where he celebrated and profiled local talent and produce.

Hughie is now a Senior Tutor teaching the Level 5 Diploma programme in cookery at NorthTec where he is sharing his knowledge and wisdom with the next generation of chefs. He is the founder of the rapidly growing Kiwi Kids Can Cook initiative and is actively involved in a push to support, promote and grow local industries and the craft of cookery, as a whole.

A member of NZChefs since 2009, Hughie has been actively involved in culinary competitions, was an Executive Member of the Northland branch, National President from 2018 to 2020 and is currently a National Ambassador for the Association.