Spotlight on Chef Daniel Hiltbrunner

As Chargée de Presse (National Committee – Australia) for La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs I am fortunate to meet interesting chefs who have contributed so much to their industry such as Chef Daniel Hiltbrunner.

As an international jury member of the Young Chefs Competition, Swiss-born Daniel Hiltbrunner in the La Chaine fraternity in Australia. Daniel is Conseiller Culinaire Honoraire of the Bailliage d’Australie, and is married to Katrina Hiltbrunner, Chargée de Missions Bailliage d’Australie. Together, they run D&K Kitchen, the showcase restaurant at Lark Hill Winery in Bungendore. 

For Daniel, the experience of 2020 has reinforced the mission of La Chaine des Rotisseurs. “The hospitality industry has had a horror year so La Chaine is very important by holding events at establishments that might otherwise have no guests,” Daniel said. 

Daniel has been a jury member of the Young Chefs Competition since 2006 and previously organised the competition at both regional and national levels in Australia and the United Arab Emirates.

“I was helping out the Vice Conseillier Culinaire in Brisbane to organise the competition which I enjoyed very much, and I guess that’s what got me hooked,” Daniel said. 

Daniel was recently invited to join the International Young Chef Competition Advisory Board and is committed to fostering the development of young chefs.  

“I believe the competition is important for young chefs to challenge not just their culinary skills but also in working out ingredients from other parts of the world, in problem solving, and to get more confidence in themselves,” Daniel said. 

The competition has taken him all over the world, from Australia to Frankfurt, New York, Helsinki, Berlin, Calgary, Taiwan, Durban and more. With his international perspective, he’s seen Australia’s young chefs punch well above their weight. 

“Australia stands up very well at international culinary competitions. We have a good standard and passionate competitors.”

As well as La Chaine, Daniel is a member of the World Master Chefs Society, Les Toques Blanches, and is Vice-President of Disciples Escoffier Australia. He is a keen contributor to international competitions. From his training as a chef in Basel, Switzerland he has worked in the USA, New Zealand, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and Australia.

His membership of La Chaine has been a thread that has run through all of these experiences. “For me, La Chaine has meant camaraderie and friendship with like-minded people all over the world.” 

His career took him from Melbourne where he was Conseillier Culininaire, to Abu Dhabi, initially for a hotel opening, and then Dubai to teach at ICCA (International College of Culinary Arts).  It was here that he started the Young Chef Competition for the United Arab Emirates before returning to Australia. 

“Having the opportunity to work with world class culinary professionals and giving back to the industry through judging international culinary competitions, for La Chaine and others, has been a real highlight of my career,” Daniel said. 

Now located in Canberra, Daniel is looking forward to continuing to travel the world, and is optimistic about La Chaine’s future, both in Australia and internationally.

What would he like to see La Chaine do more of? “Continue to support the hospitality industry as a whole, not just chefs but also front of house, sommeliers, and producers,” Daniel said. 

And what is Daniel’s top tip for young chefs coming through the ranks? “Stay humble and keep learning.”

That’s great advice for us all!

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