Marcus Hillier named Queensland’s first Chef of the Year

Media release: 10 August 2018

Marcus Hillier named Queensland’s first Chef of the Year

Brisbane chef Marcus Hillier has won the first ever Queensland Chef of the Year, claiming the prestigious title after two days of heated competition at the inaugural Food & Hospitality Queensland trade expo.

Hillier, who is sous chef at Factory 51 in Coorparoo, was one of 28 chefs selected to compete in Brisbane on Sunday and Monday. He was one of the four highest-scoring winners of the seven heats, and faced off against Mathew Lee, Norbert Marczinek and Ungki Lee in an intense and closely-fought Grand Final.

“Marcus Hillier was a very deserving winner,” comments Head Judge Karen Doyle. “He used his time effectively to showcase a number of technical skills, plus flair and passion, on his final dishes.”

Chefs in the Grand Final were required to prepare two dishes in one hour using pork loin chop, pork tenderloin, pork cheek and pigs’ ears. The mystery box also contained a selection of vegetables and herbs and the chefs had access to a pantry of dry goods and dairy.

Hillier’s first dish was Asian braised pork cheek with wild mushrooms, peas, leek and crispy pigs’ ears, while his main dish was prosciutto-wrapped baked tenderloin with pan-fried loin chop, potato fondant, goat’s cheese and pickled beetroot.

“Winning felt awesome as I wasn’t expecting it, I was up against so much talent,” Hillier says. “Having never entered a cooking competition before, I couldn’t believe I’d won!”

Originally from Maryborough in regional Victoria, Hillier trained in Bendigo and Melbourne. Over the past eight years he has worked in Tasmania, Bendigo, Melbourne and Mount Hotham, before moving recently to Brisbane.

The talented young chef says he enjoyed the buzz of competition as well as meeting other like-minded chefs. As winner of the Queensland event, he will go straight through to the national competition to be held in Melbourne next year.

Doyle agrees that the standard in the competition was very high. “Overall as judges we were very impressed by the level of cooking skills displayed,” she says. “All the chefs in the Grand Final certainly deserved to be there and it was a very close contest.”

The judging team comprised Doyle, who is Program Manager at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney and Australian Culinary Federation NSW-ACT & Regions President; consultant chef Paul Rifkin and Shane Keighley from Big Chef Little Chef; plus special guest judge and former Bocuse d’Or competitor Dan Arnold, who has recently opened Restaurant Dan Arnold in Brisbane. The competition director was Gary Farrell and the compere was Peter Howard AM.

The four Grand Finalists in Queensland Chef of the Year all took home the Unox LineMiss Arianna Oven they used in the competition. As the winner Marcus Hillier also received $2,500 cash, a hamper from Australian Pork, a trip to Melbourne next year to be among the finalists in the national competition, and a Mini MP160VV stick blender from Robot Coupe.

Gary Farrell says the competition was made possible by generous industry supporters including Australian Pork, Unox Australia, Robot Coupe, Chef Works, Reward Hospitality and Winterhalter.

The national competition, Australian Professional Chef of the Year, will be held at Foodservice Australia at Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre from 23-25 June 2019.

Entries will open later this year. For more information and full results visit the event page at


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Kirsty Hunt

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