A BLACKTOWN-raised chef could get a taste of national success this weekend.
Hanz Gueco is a finalist for the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence Australian Young Chef award to be announced in Melbourne this weekend.
The prize includes $3000 cash, the chance to represent Australia in a cooking competition in Venice, return flights to do two weeks of work experience at a world-leading restaurant and $5000 worth of kitchen appliances.
"It would be exciting to get some exposure," the former Patrician Brothers student said. "It's a relief to get this far as I've put in a lot of hard work over the years. I've made a few personal sacrifices for my career. When you're working 60-70 hours a week, it means little time to socialise. I hope it's paid off as it's been fulfilling. I feel lucky to be doing what I do."
State finalists took part in a cook-off with mystery ingredients within a set time frame, followed by individual interviews with the judging panel.
As a national finalist, Mr Gueco was invited on an all expenses-paid five-day food tour of Tasmania a fortnight ago to sample the state's best produce.
"There are good things happening in Tasmania produce-wise," he said.
Mr Gueco has been in the industry eight years and specialises in European cuisine.
He started as an apprentice at three-hatted restaurant Marque and at age 21, worked for Neil Perry at Rockpool.
He is now a chef at Cafe Paci, a pop-up restaurant in Darlinghurst which celebrates its first anniversary today and will remain open until January.
"I would love to have my own restaurant one day. It's the dream of every chef."