Danielle Gjestland (Wasabi), Meagan Prefontaine (Locale), Damien Massingham (Tourism Noosa), Lara Graham (Wasabi), Madison Payne (Sails Restaurant) and Clement Vachon (Wasabi).
Danielle Gjestland (Wasabi), Meagan Prefontaine (Locale), Damien Massingham (Tourism Noosa), Lara Graham (Wasabi), Madison Payne (Sails Restaurant) and Clement Vachon (Wasabi). contributed

They have a taste for greatness

THEY are four hospitality professionals working to spark Noosa's already buzzing food scene who have an appetite for excellence.

The four - Clement Vachon from Wasabi (Young Chef Award); Lara Graham from Wasabi (Young Waiter); Madison Payne from Sails Restaurant (Young Waiter); and Meagan Prefontaine from Locale (Young Waiter) - have entered the National Appetite for Excellence 2017 Awards Program.

This is the largest number of entries from Noosa to date for Australia's only national hospitality awards program that recognises and awards talented chefs, waiters and restaurateurs who are the next generation of industry leaders.

Tourism Noosa CEO Damien Massingham said Noosa had always been known as a serious foodie destination and it was great to see some of Noosa's youngest hospitality members entering the prestigious awards.

"The Appetite for Excellence Awards recognises up and coming industry leaders with awards covering all facets of the hospitality industry including chefs, waiters and restaurateurs,” Mr Massingham said.

"Dining is an important experience for visitors in Noosa so encouraging and nurturing our next generation professionals not only helps their professional development but also assists in keeping Noosa in the spotlight as a serious foodie scene.

"I congratulate the five entrants from Noosa and wish them the best in their endeavours.”

Wasabi owner Danielle Gjestland, who is a past winner 'of the young restaurateur award, is now one of the national judges who supports entrants to achieve excellence.

"The program is a wonderful vehicle for professional young people in the industry to measure themselves against their peers, network and learn some new skills along the way,” she said.

" Later, it also acts as a conduit for past winners and applicants to stay connected and feel part of a greater community.”

The award, now its 12th year, continues to inspire young culinary talent.


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