The Winning Shot. Credit: Hunter Chefs & Co.
The Winning Shot. Credit: Hunter Chefs & Co.

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On Monday, September 10, four Hunter Region heavyweight chefs took on four of Sydney’s best food creatives at the third annual Hunter Chefs & Co ‘Food Fight’ luncheon hosted at Hunter Valley Crowne Plaza. Delivering world class gastronomic delights to 250 guests, the awesome Hunter foursome took out the coveted title of ‘Food Fight Champions 2012’.

The gloves came off when Jamie Ryan from ‘Caves’ Beachside Hotel and his team, Tim Montgomery from Bacchus, Emerson Rodriguez from Emerson’s Pokolbin, and Troy Rhoades-Brown from Muse, went up against Sydney chefs Matt Kemp formerly of Balzac, Warren Turnbull from Assiette, Colin Fassnidge from 4Fourteen, and Justin North formerly of Becasse.

With Peter Everett of ‘Ready Steady Cook’ fame providing entertaining commentary throughout the event, Team Hunter went on to rule the day with their delectable winning main of Spring Lamb with potato pumper nickel spring greens, and the deciding dessert specialty of vanilla crème brulee, malt, banana, date and fresh honeycomb, as judged anonymously by the attendees.

Hunter Team Captain Jamie Ryan said, “A vast majority of the ingredients on the menu were seasonal and sourced from our Region, which gave us the edge we needed to show the Sydney Team what we’re made of – better luck next time boys!”

Guests were delighted by the authentic Hunter experience and the opportunity to brush shoulders with some of the Hunter’s finest up-and-coming chefs and local producers.

The canapés were produced entirely by Hunter Region’s talented apprentices who had the incredible opportunity to work alongside the top Chefs for the day.

“This event wouldn’t be possible without the help of the Region’s apprentices,” said Matt Kemp. “It’s exciting to see that there’s so much talent in the Region and that Hunter Chefs & Co are working hard to support and develop them.”

The event, which included an auction, raised more than $10,000 that will be directed towards various apprentice initiatives and the Brett Graham Scholarship, where one promising apprentice chef will have the opportunity to be flown to London to work alongside the highly acclaimed Brett Graham at his renowned Notting Hill Restaurant, The Ledbury.

At the core of Hunter Chefs & Co is its drive to foster upcoming regional talent and to promote the area as not only a desirable wine destination, but an exceptional food destination.

Ben Neil, Chairman of Hunter Chefs & Co said, “The high-profile event attracts a sell out crowd from across the nation to indulge in the best of what the Hunter Region has to offer.

“We are extremely happy with the result of our 3rd Annual ‘Food Fight’ and the awareness has created for quality produce and food from the region. The anonymity of the voting for each course certainly added an extra element of excitement to this year’s battle and whilst extremely close, Team Hunter were ecstatic to take the win over a highly credentialed Team Sydney. We anticipate the event to continue growing in popularity and will be looking at increasing the seating next year, and making the event even bigger and better.”

This Hunter Chefs & Co lunch is one of many must-do events on any ‘foodie’ calendar. To find out more about what’s on, please visit, ‘like’ them on, or join the conversation on

Related:Q and A with Chef Tim Montgomery

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