Deb Ridley, ACT

2023 Regional Winner


Deb Ridley, age 17, who works at Ondine European Brasserie, has impressed judges with her menu to win gold.

“This was my first time competing in a culinary competition. I entered to practice my skills and build my confidence in cooking. From an early age I developed a passion for all things pastry and my skills are now developing in the savoury realm. My boss is my culinary inspiration, he’s been very supportive of me giving it a go. As well being a past competitor in Golden Chef’s himself, he has worked in restaurants all over the world and now owns his own restaurant here in Canberra.”

ACT 2023 Regionals Winner
2023 Regionals Winners NSW Regional

Ashleigh Handsaker, NSW Regional

2023 Regional Winner


Ashleigh Handsaker, aged 21, a recently graduated Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery apprentice at Hamilton TAFE and chef at Fratelli Roma, has impressed judges with her menu to win gold.

“I’m really focused on my career progression; I want to keep challenging myself and expand my culinary knowledge. This is the second time getting to the grand finals and I’m excited to keep elevating my journey as a chef. It’s a confidence boost securing a top spot once again and I’m going to give it my absolute best.”

Amity Lobb, SA

2023 Regional Winner


Amity Lobb, aged 20, a 3rd Year Apprentice at TAFE Regency and chef at Adelaide Oval, has impressed judges with her menu to win gold.


“I was drawn to cooking by the endless possibilities. When you can take a few simple ingredients and turn it into something special for people to enjoy is what motivates me and it’s why I love what I do. I can’t wait to meet other like-minded chefs from all over Australia and New Zealand – making connections like that is so important in the industry.”

SA 2023 Regionals Winner
WA 2023 Regionals Winners

Jess Roe, WA

2023 Regional Winner


Jess Roe, aged 23, a newly appointed sous chef at Bistro Guillaume (Crown Metropolitan Perth), has impressed judges with her menu to win gold.


“Food has the ability to change a person’s day and can create memories from a single bite. There is so much flexibility and freedom when it comes to cooking, your ability as a chef to push the boundaries and create something special. I’m definitely taking that mindset into the grand finals.”

Ethan Annesley, NSW Metro

2023 Regional Winner


Ethan Annesley, aged 23, a recently promoted head commis chef at The Star Sydney and TAFE NSW Ryde Certificate III Commercial Cookery graduate, has impressed judges with his menu to secure a top spot in the grand finals.


“I love to feel challenged, and the competitive nature of Golden Chefs allows me to get creative with my cooking. Having to theorise, trial, and experiment with different ingredients has focused my passion for cooking even more, which is so rewarding. This award also brings opportunities to meet fellow chefs and make connections in the hospitality industry, so I’m really excited for the grand finals.”

NSW Metro 2023 Regionals Winner
VIC 2023 Regionals Winners

Jimmy Han, VIC

2023 Regional Winner


Jimmy Han, aged 22, a 3rd year Certificate IV Commercial Cookery student and commis chef at award-winning ARU (The Age Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year – Victoria), has wowed judges with his menu.


“After finishing culinary school in Taiwan I was lucky enough to work at a two Michelin starred restaurant as an apprentice. This made me realise I wanted to elevate my skills set as a chef. The dining culture in Melbourne is quite different and very diverse, which I love, it’s already proving to be quite an adventure. Going into the grand finals I’m excited to take my cooking to the next level and can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.”

Stellio Ginis, NT

2023 Regional Winner


Apprentice chef Stellio Ginis, aged 23, who works at award-winning Char Restaurant, has proven himself once more with his menu.


“The more I compete the more I get the ability to hone my skills as a chef and I love the thrill it gives me cooking under pressure. My motivation is my future and knowing one day I’ll be able to look back and be proud of everything I accomplished, doing something I love and putting myself out there in the chef world.” 

NT 2023 Regionals Winner
QLD Regional 2023 Regionals Winners

Jayden Osbourne, QLD Regional

2023 Regional Winner


Touch of Salt chef de partie Jayden Osbourne, aged 22, has proven himself once more as one of the best cooks in regional Australia. As a TAFE Townsville graduate, he has impressed judges with his menu.


“This is my third time to score a spot in the Golden Chefs competition and I’m feeling pretty confident, but nervous at the same time. It’s a daunting challenge going up against the best young chefs in Australia and New Zealand and cooking-off live in front of crowds of spectators, but I’m determined to give it my all. I’ll be training hard, doing lots of menu trials and practicing, to represent my region on this scale.”

Semra Peach, TAS

2023 Regional Winner


Semra Peach, aged 24, a chef at Bayviews Restaurant, has once again impressed judges with her menu. This will be the third time for Semra to experience the grand finals. As a Certificate III Commercial Cookery graduate, she’s now also undertaking a Certificate III Patisserie apprenticeship to further advance her culinary repertoire.


“My food passion tends to lean towards dessert. I’m always dreaming up dishes with new and unusual ingredients and I want to get even more skills under my belt that will hopefully lead to other opportunities. I know based on my last two times, I’m going to enjoy the experience of Golden Chefs and make the most of it. It’s incredible to connect with other like-minded chefs and challenge yourself.”

TAS 2023 Regionals Winner
SQLD 2023 Regionals Winners

Amber Heaton, QLD Metro

2023 Regional Winner


Amber Heaton, aged 23, a chef at Cucina Vivo (The Star Gold Coast), has impressed judges with her gold medal winning menu.

This is the fifth time for Amber competing in the award and her 31st cooking competition. 

“I love the whole experience of Golden Chef’s, it’s incredible to connect with other like-minded chefs and challenge yourself. Every year I compete I am continually learning and gaining more connections within the industry. Growing up in an Italian family I have always been surrounded by amazing food and there’s something very special about how it can bring people together.” 

Lilly Boles, NZ North Island

2023 Regional Winner


Lilly Boles, a 19-year-old student chef at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) has secured her place in the grand finals, impressing judges with her winning menu.


“I trained three times a week in the lead up to the North Island section of the competition to ensure that I had the menu perfected. From a young age, my Mum has always involved us in the kitchen. Some of my best times were spent eating good food surrounded by family.”

NZ Nth 2023 Regionals Winner
NZ South Island 2023 Regionals Winners

Joosje Bouman, NZ South Island

2023 Regional Winner


Joosje Bouman, a sous chef at Kaisar Brew Garden in Christchurch, has secured her spot in the 2023 grand finals. This is the second time that Bouman has competed in the competition, an impressive achievement at 22 years of age.


“I did a lot of prep work and general training in the kitchen at work in the lead up to the competition to ensure that the menu would be perfect. Chefs always look like they have more fun, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to become one. It's also a creative industry which gives me an opportunity to play around with ideas and dishes.”