The Ledbury all stars

What happens when four of this country’s young gun chefs – all of who have cooked alongside Brett Graham at The Ledbury in London – sharpen their knives and go head-to-head in the kitchen?

The annual Food Fight is the signature event organised by the Hunter Culinary Association (HCA) and is a highly-anticipated occasion on the Hunter’s culinary calendar. This year’s clash promises to be as thrilling as ever, with the chefs working their magic and creating a dish of their choice to take out the prestigious title. Each chef will prepare one lunch course matched with a Hunter Valley wine. Guests will then vote for their preferred dish at the conclusion of lunch.

The chefs are: Thomas Boyd (Margan); Troy Crisante (Quay Restaurant); George Mirosevich (Restaurant Mason) and Eilish Maloney, formerly of Saint Peter.

HCA Chairman Gus Maher said the tenth annual Food Fight was set to be an ‘unforgettable gourmet event’, once again hosted by the inimitable duo Colin Fassnidge and Matt Kemp, who are longtime supporters of the Hunter Culinary Association.

‘Each of these talented chefs have trained under the legendary Brett Graham at his acclaimed London Michelin-starred restaurant, so guests will be dining at an incredibly high standard,’ Mr Maher said.

‘That is extra special as the Food Fight, and its signature auction supports our region’s young chefs by giving them the opportunity to work with Brett in London through the Brett Graham Scholarship which we undertake in conjunction with TAFE NSW.

’HCA Chairman Gus Maher says the Food Fight has allowed the Brett Graham scholarship to grow, but most notably allow the overall HCA scholarship program to expand benefitting the career development of many young chefs.

‘The key objective of the HCA is to provide scholarship opportunities to develop the careers of young and aspiring chefs and apprentices.

The Hunter Culinary Association Food Fight lunch attracts large industry support, but is also open for members of the public to attend and immerse themselves in this special food experience.

Date: Monday 17 June 2019
Time: 11 am
Location: Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Pokolbin
Cost: $175 for HCA members, $195 for non-members and $90 for apprentice chefs 

More info: 


Eilish Maloney, Former Saint Peter Paddington

Eilish’s career began at Onesta Cucina in the Southern Highlands when she was 17. Shortly after she moved to Sydney where she completed her apprenticeship at the one-hat restaurant Nomad, Surry Hills, before jumping on a plane and landing a once in a life time opportunity at The Ledbury, in London. Eilish then tackled the challenges of a global roaming pop-up restaurant, One Star House Party, which she then took to South Africa and Sweden. Returning to Australia last year, Eilish took up her role as Sous Chef at St Peter of Paddington.

Thomas Boyd, Margan

Born and raised in the Hunter, Thomas knew early on he was destined for the challenges of the kitchen. After leaving school early to pursue his career, he started an apprenticeship at Restaurant 305 in historic Maitland. A move to Restaurant Mason in the East End of Newcastle enriched his foundations in the kitchen, but it wasn’t long before the Hunter Valley called. He began his journey at Margan Estate in 2013 as a second-year apprentice, where he was named ACF Apprentice of the Year. It was at this stage he was lured away again by an incredible opportunity, a job at London’s The Ledbury alongside renowned chef Brett Graham, returning to Margan in 2016.

Troy Crisante, Quay Restaurant

Troy began his career in a small French, two-hatted restaurant called Bistro Ortolan in Leichhardt. After almost three years, he took up a role at Quay as a 3rd year apprentice; and after two and a half years there had worked his way up to Snr Chef de Partie. It was then time for a new challenge, so he steeled his nerve to see if he could cut it at The Ledbury in London. After about a year there, he was offered the opportunity to help a team in sunny Sydney open at Bennelong. Fast forward more than 10 years and he found himself with another opportunity too good to refuse with Peter Gilmore at Quay.

George Mirosevich, Restaurant Mason

George was 15 when he started his apprenticeship at a pub on the water at Port Stephens. Towards the end of his second year he took a position at Le Petit Deux in inner-city Newcastle where his love of fine dining began. His next move was to Muse in the Hunter Valley where he finished his apprenticeship and competed in and won the coveted Brett Graham Scholarship which gave him the opportunity to buy a one-way ticket to London to work at the The Ledbury. Once back home in Australia, the next few years saw him tack up various at prestigious restaurants like Sepia and Bistro Guillaume in Sydney. Today George is loving life at Restaurant Mason, where he has been Sous Chef for more than a year.