Melbourne Food & Wine launches international scholarship program

Melbourne Food and Wine and HostPlus have launched a nationwide industry scholarship program to provide an up-and-coming star in Australia’s food, wine and hospitality industry the opportunity to gain exclusive international work experience and a one-year mentor program with a local industry leader.

From apprentice chefs to budding winemakers, the HostPlus Hospitality Scholarship is open to individuals 18 – 30 years old across Australia working in the food, wine and hospitality industry. The scholarship offers work experience in three renowned restaurants or wineries across the world and the exclusive opportunity to learn from international leaders and visionaries.

The scholarship program also includes return international flights, $2000 spending money, a year-long mentorship with a Melbourne food and wine legend, and the opportunity to share their experience with a video blog. Applicants enter the scholarship by uploading a short video application online at . Submissions are open until 23 April and the winner will be announced in June 2014.

The judging panel includes Natalie O’Brien, CEO, Melbourne Food and Wine; Umberto Mecchi, executive manager, strategy and marketing at HostPlus; Matteo Pignatelli from Restaurant Catering Australia; current MFW legend Gail Donovan; and 2014 HostPlus Trailblazer Rafael Rashid.

On announcing the scholarship, Natalie O’Brien said: “We’re proud to be working with HostPlus on this inaugural scholarship to connect the next generation of the Australian hospitality industry with global leaders and local legends. The ability to travel and gain experience in leading restaurants or wineries across the world is a tremendous opportunity for a young hospitality professional and will provide an invaluable launching pad for their career.”

David Elia, HostPlus CEO said “We are thrilled to extend our partnership with Melbourne Food and Wine by offering the HostPlus Hospitality Scholarship. HostPlus has been the national super fund for people working in hospitality for 26 years and this program is just one of the many ways we are helping to support the industry by providing structured pathways for future talent.”

The scholarship was announced at MFW’s legends event at Crown Melbourne on 3 March. Another pillar of MFW’s industry program, the legends ‘hall-of-fame’ program was launched in 1993 and pays tribute to the leaders, ground breakers and visionaries of Victoria’s food and wine industry including chefs, producers, culinary communicators, wine producers, and restaurateurs.

In 2014, the six inductees due to be welcomed to the program by lord mayor Robert Doyle are: – Ross Brown, executive director, Brown Brothers; Frank Camorra, chef and restaurateur, MoVida; Mark Dundon, Seven Seeds, Paramount Coffee Project and coffee farm co-owner; Michelle Garnaut, restaurateur, M Restaurants; Jeni Port, wine writer.

Rafael Rashid of Beatbox Kitchen and Taco Truck was awarded the 2014 HostPlus Trailblazer Award.

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