Chef Joshua Ross of Wellington has been named the inaugural winner of the 2023 Visa New Zealand Hospitality Scholarship. Josh, aged 27, is currently the Head Chef at Bellamy’s by Logan Brown as well as the owner of Lower Hutt café, Twenty Eight.
The Visa New Zealand Hospitality Scholarship, valued at NZD $30,000, was launched to attract and retain more young people into the industry and support them to take up hospitality as a fully-fledged career. It includes a five-day placement at a top international hospitality venue, professional development, a one-year mentorship, business training and future participation in Visa Wellington On a Plate.
The scholarship attracted 39 applications from all around New Zealand. Lena Speed of Loretta in Wellington, and Zane Neustroski of Mr. Morris in Auckland were also finalists.
Josh says he is honoured and is particularly excited about the opportunity to benefit from a mentor as well as the chance to travel overseas to experience different kitchens and culinary scenes.
“I’d like to thank all the people who supported me along the way, this is such a great initiative for young hospitality professionals. It’s encouraging to have opportunities like this to push outside our comfort zones and learn more.”
Visa’s Head of Marketing for Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, Natalie Lockwood says, “Visa is proud to support this unique scholarship that provides emerging hospitality talent with learning and career growth opportunities at home and abroad. Congratulations to all the finalists and to Josh. We’re excited to see where this scholarship takes him.”
Industry heavyweights Chef Michael Meredith (Auckland), Master of Wine Stephen Wong (Wellington) and Sherwood General Manager Food & Beverage Hayley Scott (Queenstown) formed the inaugural judging panel.
Visa Wellington On a Plate Festival Director, Sarah Meikle managed the judging process, and says it was crucial to have a panel of experienced and successful professionals from across all aspects of the industry involved.
“The judges were blown away by the calibre of applicants, and it was inspiring to see so many talented young people that are passionate about choosing hospitality as a career.”
The scholarship was open to hospitality workers who are New Zealand residents, aged between 22 and 35 years of age and had a minimum of two years’ experience working in the hospitality industry.