Try Peter Gilmore’s squid noodles as well as new dishes prepared by Pete when Australia’s best restaurant reopens.

Pete Campbell may have missed out on being named MasterChef Australia 2021, but the first runner-up has landed himself an even better title: Commis Chef at Quay restaurant in Sydney.

Quay executive chef Peter Gilmore set this year’s MasterChef grand finale challenge, which saw contestants recreate Gilmore’s squid noodles from Quay and golden crackle from Bennelong. The gruelling 5-hour pressure test saw Pete lose the lead to fellow contestant Justin Narayan by a single point.

After the pressure test, Peter Gilmore approached Pete to offer his commiserations.

“Once everything was done, there was a lovely moment when Peter came up to me and said ‘I think you showed amazing character today, if you’re serious about giving this a go and want to come into the restaurant, I’ve written my number down. Give me a call and we can set something up’.

“It was pretty much the first thing I did when I got back to Sydney. There was no way I was going to turn this opportunity down.”

Pete had dined at Quay restaurant just once before. “It was probably around ten years ago, I was a complete newbie to food and I just loved it. If someone had told me back then that I would get to work at Quay one day, I definitely would not have believed them.”

If you thought Pete would never want to look at a bowl of squid noodles again, you’re wrong. The MasterChef contestant was happy to make the dish again on his first day in the Quay kitchen.

“It really is an extremely difficult dish to make and to see the professional chefs struggle with it definitely made me feel better.”

Pete admits he was nervous to start at one of the world’s best restaurants, but insists the Quay team have been very welcoming and supportive. “The whole team has been so wonderful, it’s been quite overwhelming really. I’m just listening and learning as much as I can.”

Pete has since been offered a full-time role as Commis Chef, which will commence as soon as the Sydney lockdown ends.

“The opportunity to join the team full-time came much sooner than I expected and I’m just so excited about it.

“The kitchen has a brilliant set-up with a separate station for each course. To start, I’ll be moving around each station, helping out with all the different elements before I end up with my own course.”

Despite narrowly missing out on the trophy and oversized cheque, Pete is happy with how things have turned out.

“This is what I had hoped for when I started on MasterChef and that hasn’t changed. I am definitely not afraid of hard work and I’m excited by the opportunity to prove myself.”