Meet the judges of the 2019 Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship

Published on 15 May 2019

Photo: Left to right, top to bottom: Gail Donovan, Neil Perry, Pat Nourse, Shane Delia, Guillaume Brahimi, Fleur Studd

Meet the judges you'll be going in front of if you applied for the 2019 Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship, an award designed to encourage the next-generation in hospitality to take a career-changing step forward. 

Each year, the Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship sends an ambitious young player in hospitality around the world to work and learn in three internationally acclaimed businesses of their choosing, with the aim of inspiring, challenging and educating.

But before that, a panel of high-profile judges assess hundreds of applications and determine who stands out among Australia’s next crop of hospitality superstars. This year the judging panel includes a mix of household names and industry legends, with a number of new judges joining for the first time. Get to know them a little better.

Applications for the 2019 Scholarship have now closed. 

Guillaume Brahimi, Bistro Guillaume
After making his name in Sydney with fine-diners Bilson’s and Guillaume at Bennelong, French-born Guillaume Brahimi went national with the more relaxed Bistro Guillaume. Across locations in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, Bistro Guillaume channels the neighbourhood bistros of Paris where Brahimi was born, offering confit duck, steak frites and other classics. The chef’s CV includes time at Joël Robuchon’s restaurant Jamin and Parisian landmark La Tour d’Argent, as well as multiple awards from Australian and international publications for his Sydney restaurants. He joins the judging panel for the first time in 2019.

Neil Perry AM, Rockpool Dining Group
Neil Perry has been a leading player in Australia’s dining scene for 30 years as chef, restaurateur, author, television presenter and through his partnership with Qantas. A name that’s known to Australians of all ages, Perry has opened restaurants across the country, with Rockpool Bar & Grill in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, as well as multiple locations of Rosetta, Spice Temple and Saké. His far-reaching portfolio and many years of experience put him in a strong position to assess the next generation of Australian hospitality talent. This is Perry’s first year as a judge.

Pat Nourse, Food + Wine Victoria
Pat Nourse is the creative director of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. A travel writer and restaurant reviewer with some 20 years’ experience, Nourse was an editor at Gourmet Traveller for 14 years, and his work has been published internationally in the likes of Saveur, Travel + Leisure, Fool, Afar, Lucky Peach, and Gourmet. Nourse has chaired voting for Australia/Oceania for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants since 2006. Nourse is another new member of the judging panel and represents Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, who administer the Scholarship in partnership with Hostplus.

Shane Delia, Maha and Biggie Smalls
From elevated Middle Eastern menus at Maha to a lighthearted take on American street-food at Biggie Smalls, Melbourne chef Shane Delia travels at many speeds. The host of several television series including Spice Journey and Postcards, Delia is also a passionate advocate for the progression of young people in hospitality, something he strives for in all his venues. In June, he opens his latest venue Maha East in Windsor, a wine bar featuring the trademark Middle Eastern flavours Delia has showcased at Maha for more than a decade.

Gail Donovan, Donovans
Gail Donovan is one of Melbourne’s legendary restaurateurs, having run Donovans on St Kilda Beach with her partner Kevin for more than 20 years. During this time the restaurant has cemented its place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike, thanks to its unrivalled location, relaxed and homely design, and a generous approach to hospitality. Gail Donovan’s many years at the centre of Melbourne hospitality mean she has a highly-trained eye to bring to the judging panel.

Fleur Studd, Market Lane Coffee and Melbourne Coffee Merchants
A winner of the 2015 Hostplus Trailblazer Award, given to standout hospitality professionals under the age of 40 in Victoria, Fleur Studd had made an indelible mark on Melbourne’s coffee scene. She founded coffee importer Melbourne Coffee Merchants nearly a decade ago, with the aim of sourcing the very best coffee from around the world and sharing the stories of the people who produced it, before going on to co-found Market Lane Coffee, a café and roastery that’s part of the daily routine of thousands of Melbourne coffee-lovers.