On Monday 8 August, Australia’s finest culinary experts will flock to Sydney as the national winners of the 2016 Electrolux Appetite of Excellence Awards are announced. Named as the only finalist in the NSW and ACT area was Canberra’s very own Andrew Day, General Manager of AKIBA.

This year marks the 11th year of the awards, as it scours the nation for the most talented and young chefs, restaurateurs and waiters to become a more sustainable hospitality industry.

The state finalists, including Andrew, were put through their paces with written examinations, blind wine tasting, food pairing, interviews with industry leaders and a test of their practical skills running a busy lunch service for sponsors and media representatives.

After the gruelling number of tests and challenges, Andrew hopes that his progression as a national finalist will help him bring even greater knowledge and service to the AKIBA team.

“It’s been amazing so far, meeting so many passionate industry professionals and absorbing everything the judging panel have thrown at us,” he says.

“To know that what we’re doing at AKIBA is at the forefront of national standards and trends is huge.

“My experiences at AKIBA have probably brought a more energetic edge to the program compared to the more conservative styles of other participants, but I think that’s a reflection of the move away from fine dining and towards more casual, fun dining experiences.”

Following the announcement of the 2016 national finalists, restaurant lovers are able to vote for their favourites from the influx of fresh, new culinary talent set to shake up Australia’s dining scene in the 2016 Electrolux People’s Choice Award.

Anyone who votes will automatically enter the draw to win a private cooking masterclass experience with Andy Allen (MasterChef 2012 contestant), to enjoy with two friends.

Following the masterclass, they will then join Andy for a delicious seasonal lunch at his hot new restaurant, the Three Blue Ducks Rosebery, which freshly opened its doors in early June.

Voting closes on Thursday 4 August so make sure you submit your vote to not only support AKIBA’s Andrew Day, but for your chance to win the magnificent Electrolux prize.