Kay-Lene Tan, the head pastry chef at Tonka and Coda restaurants in Melbourne has been named the winner of the 2018 Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship supported by Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Following a four-month selection process, Kay-Lene was awarded the Scholarship on Monday 9 July at Food and Wine Victoria’s annual industry awards night by Hostplus Chief Marketing Officer Umberto Mecchi.
After an earlier career as a documentary filmmaker, Kay-lene followed her dreams and trained to become a chef at the relatively late age of 25. Born in Melbourne and then raised with her Peranakan family in Singapore, her dessert creations are inspired by a diverse range of food cultures. Before returning to Melbourne in 2013, Kay-lene worked for some of the world’s best chefs including Joël Robuchon and Andres Lara.
2018 runner-up finalists Jenni Bryant (VIC), general manager of Market Lane Coffee and Shelly McElroy (NSW), training and development advisor at Merivale, will join Kay-Lene for an exclusive development day with Hostplus ambassador Shane Delia, from Maha and Biggie Smalls in Melbourne.
The prestigious Scholarship offers the next generation of Australian hospitality workers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work across the world in three internationally acclaimed hospitality businesses.
The Scholarship prize will be facilitated by Melbourne Food and Wine Festival through its extensive global network and the winner's international work experience will be specially tailored to their career interests - from the paddock, the cellar, the kitchen, front-of-house and everywhere in between.
Upon their return to Australia, the Scholarship winner will be partnered with a local industry leader for a year-long mentorship to expand their industry experience and connections in their chosen field.
This year, three shortlisted finalists will also be invited to participate in an exclusive development day with Hostplus ambassador and acclaimed Melbourne chef, Shane Delia. In addition, the three finalists will join international and local hospitality stars at the 2019 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
The winner’s international work experience includes flights, accommodation and spending money.
Umberto Mecchi, Jo-Ann Moody, Rafael Rashid, Gail Donovan, Matteo Pignatelli and Fleur Studd
Mark Bashinksy, the first winner of the Scholarship
Shane Delia runs Maha and Biggie Smalls