The winners of the 2014 Electrolux Appetite for Excellence Awards have been announced at a gala celebration at Stokehouse City this evening.

The Awards were established in 2005 to encourage young local talent and to celebrate the future heavyweights of the hospitality industry (past winners and finalists include chefs Gladioli’s Matt Dempsey and Stokehouse’s Oliver Gould). In such a competitive and fast-paced industry, it’s an opportunity to give young chefs something to aspire to.

The 2014 Electrolux Appetite for Excellence winners are:

Electrolux Australian Young Chef 2014
Winner: George Tomlin, The Town Mouse (Victoria)
Runner Up: Jake Kellie, The Commoner (Victoria)
Highly Commended: Hanz Gueco, Café Paci (New South Wales)

Electrolux Australian Young Waiter 2014
Winner: Gerald Ryan, Brae (Victoria)
Runner Up: Brooke Adey, Chianti Classico (South Australia)
Highly Commended: Shanteh Wong, Quay (New South Wales)

Electrolux Australian Young Restaurateur 2014
Winner: Troy Rhoades-Brown, Muse Restaurant (New South Wales)

Judge Guy Grossi (Grossi Florentino) says that Town Mouse sous chef George Tomlin’s talent really shone in the finalist cook-off challenge. “George kept his cool all the way through. He was very meticulous, very calm.” Grossi describes Tomlin as an “articulate young chef” whose food is “very evolved and very thought out”.

Peter Sullivan, who helped judge the Young Waiter Award, couldn’t speak highly enough of winner Gerald Ryan, saying, “He really has an understanding of being able to read a table and adapt to customers’ expectations.” Sullivan explains that the judges look for a people with a natural hospitality reflex, a high emotional intelligence and a desire to make people happy and curate their experience.

As for Muse Restaurant’s Troy Rhoades-Brown as this year’s Young Restaurateur, judge Lucy Allon says that she and the panel were impressed by Rhoades-Brown’s “clear vision for his restaurant”. With Muse based in the Hunter Valley, she says, “He’s made his mark on the region. He’s grown very slowly and sustainably, and he’s done so well to put himself on the map.”