Challinor aims to stay top of the CookOff chef leader board

Jacqui Challinor is hoping to keep the Nomad team at the top of the OzHarvest CEO CookOff leaderboard.

Jacqui Challinor is hoping to keep the Nomad team at the top of the OzHarvest CEO CookOff leaderboard.

Sutherland Shire’s Jacqui Challinor will join Sydney’s top chefs and business leaders to cook for the homeless next month.

Challinor, who is head chef at Nomad restaurant in Surry Hills, is again taking part in the annual OzHarvest CEO CookOff.

OzHarvest is a charity which rescues surplus perishable food from commercial outlets and delivers it free of charge to more than 900 charities across Australia. 

The CEO CookOff is the charity’s major fundraising event and sees some of  Sydney’s well-known business leaders trade their suit jackets for aprons as they make meals for thousands of Australians in need.

This year’s OzHarvest CEO CookOff will be held on Monday, March 19, at a new venue, the Royal Hall of Industries in Sydney.

Jacqui Challinor in Nomad restaurant in Surry Hills.

Jacqui Challinor in Nomad restaurant in Surry Hills.

OzHarvest Founder and CEO Ronni Kahn said for the first time, participating CEOs and business leaders now have the option to bring along a team of four to join them. 

Challinor said she enjoyed the experience last year and was looking to go one better in 2018.

‘‘We ended up raising over $17,000 which was a mammoth effort and one I am very proud of,’’ she said.

‘‘This year we are aiming for $20,000.

‘‘Myself and the team at Nomad are working hard to get the donations rolling but we still have a long way to go before we hit our target.

“To date, we have raised just over $5,000 which puts Nomad on the top of the chef leader board for the Cook Off and we are hoping to keep it that way.”

Challinor, who grew up in Loftus and attended Loftus Public School and Jannali High, studied at Loftus TAFE while completing her apprenticeship.

She took over leadership of the kitchen at Nomad in December 2014 following her promotion from sous chef and has recently moved to Alexandria to be closer to work.

Challinor said the OzHarvest  CookOff  was an inspiring experience for all participants. 

"It’s an incredibly humbling experience for me to have the opportunity to come face to face with and talk to the people who we are trying to help,” she said.

Top chef talent taking part this year includes Matt Moran, Colin Fassnidge, Guillaime Brahimi, Peter Gilmore, Christine Manfield, Dan Hong, Alessandro Pavoni, Justine Schofield and Julie Goodwin.  

“The magic on the night is the reversed roles, as CEOs are usually the ones enjoying the meal, but on this occasion they are working hard in the kitchen to make sure the guests enjoy a gourmet dinner,’’ Niland,from Saint Peter restaurant, said.

OzHarvest collects from more than 2000 food outlets including fruit and vegetable markets, supermarkets, hotels, wholesalers, farmers, stadiums, corporate events, catering companies, shopping centres, delis, cafes, restaurants, film and TV shoots and boardrooms. 

The organisation is aiming to raise $2 million from this year’s CookOff. 

Donate to Jacquie Challinor’s team here.

Jacqui Challinor

Jacqui Challinor