Kitchen cook-off challenges the small fry

WITH creativity and expertise beyond their years, a handful of Sydney's hottest cooks will bring their talents to the table for the 15th annual Young Chefs Dinner.

The six chefs, aged from 21 to 25, have been selected from some of the most talked-about restaurants in the city to take part.

They have developed a degustation menu to be served to 100 guests on October 15, with each chef contributing one dish. The dinner is part of Crave Sydney International Food Festival. Tickets for the dinner go on sale when the festival program is released in the Herald tomorrow.

It will be hosted by the Best New Restaurant in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide - Porteno in Surry Hills.

The chefs hail from a range of culinary backgrounds. Chase Lovecky, 25, moved to Sydney from the US to join the Momofuku Seiobo team as sous chef in 2011. He previously worked in New York, spending a year at Jean Georges. ''I really like veg-based cooking - working with Ben [Greeno, head chef] has opened my eyes to the different ways you can use vegetables,'' he said.

Nick Gardener, 24, grew up cooking in the kitchen with his father. He has been sous chef at Tetsuya's since October. ''I've really been enjoying fine dining and using concentrated flavours and serving them in small, neat packages,'' he says.

Laura Baratto has been sous chef at Chiswick in Woollahra since it opened in March. The 23-year-old said it was a nice surprise to be included in the line-up.

Oli Hassig will have a home town advantage on the night as he is already well acquainted with Porteno's kitchen. The 22-year-old, who moved to Australia from the Philippines six years ago, has been part of the restaurant's team since July.

The youngest of the chefs, 21-year-old Michael West, worked at the Four in Hand before moving across to work at Colin Fassnidge's second restaurant, 4 Fourteen, in May. Pastry chef Julie Niland, who has worked at Rockpool, Marque and Sixpenny, makes up the group.

The story Kitchen cook-off challenges the small fry first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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