CEO CookOff News

OzHarvest CEO CookOff 2016 Raises Over $1.5M To Support Australia’s most vulnerable

by OzAdmin

March 9, 2016

Mark-Olive-and-team-CEO cookoff 2016
Mark-Olive-and-team-CEO cookoff 2016
CEO CookOff News

OzHarvest CEO CookOff 2016 Raises Over $1.5M To Support Australia’s most vulnerable

by OzAdmin

Celebrating its fifth-year milestone, the 2016 OzHarvest CEO CookOff has raised a record $1.5 million, with funds still climbing.

This year the CEO CookOff was back bigger and better, taking place at a stunning new location in Sydney, The Cutaway at Barangaroo, and launching in Brisbane for the first time ever at the Royal International Convention Centre.

Monday night (7 March) saw 152 business leaders pair up with 50 of Australia’s top chefs to cook for more than 1,100 homeless and vulnerable Australians in Sydney and 300 guests in Brisbane.

Australia’s most influential business leaders including Aussie CEO James Symond, Woolworths’ Marketing Director Andrew Hicks, Barangaroo Delivery Authority CEO Craig van der Laan, HOSTPLUS CEO David Elia, TFE Hotels CEO Rachel Argaman, Executive Director of Macquarie Sheryl Weil, Tom Wiley CEO Wiley & Co and StarTrack CEO Bob Black swapped their boardroom politics for aprons and chopping boards to raise money for this unique event.

His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Governor of New South Wales and Mrs Hurley joined Chef Rob Cockerill of Bennelong in the kitchen, plating up bruschetta and preparing grilled chicken thighs with chimichurri sauce and barbecued pickles for guests.

The exceptional cooks’ line up included top 3 chef fundraisers Matt Moran, Neil Perry AM, and Guillaume Brahimi in Sydney who raised a combined $118,103 and in Brisbane, Ben O’Donoghue and Dominique Rizzo along with 8 other chefs, all teamed up with CEOs, business leaders and politicians to create a pop up restaurant with a combined 42 Chef’s Hats.

This year, the event saw a focus on supporting Indigenous communities with a donation made to Marr’ma Rom Foundation on the night to empower the next generation of young men from North East Arnhem Land. High profile Indigenous chefs, Clayton Donovan and Mark Olive created beautiful dishes using native Australian ingredients.

On stage at Barangaroo MC Larry Emdur kept guests entertained, with moving performances from the Bangarra Dance Theatre, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation and one of Australia’s leading performing arts companies and the talents of two special Australian solo singer/songwriters, North-East Arnhem Land’s own Yirrmal and Australian favourite Sarah Blasko. Western GuGuYelanji songman Troy Brady performed for the well-fed Brisbane crowd.

The OzHarvest CEO CookOff is the food-rescue organisation’s flagship annual event, aimed at increasing awareness of food security, homelessness and food wastage in Australia. Since its inception in 2012, the annual event has now raised more than $5.5 million dollars for charity.

OzHarvest founder and CEO Ronni Kahn said funds raised in 2016 will allow her organisation to deliver at least three million additional meals to those in need and expand its nutrition, education and hospitality training program.

 “Food is all about caring, sharing, dignity and respect. It’s an equaliser and a connector and that’s what this event is about – giving and love” said Ronni Kahn.

“Last night we brought together CEOs and Senior Business Leaders from some of Australia’s leading companies and chefs from Australia’s top restaurants to break bread and share a meal with 1,400 people most vulnerable in our community. The magnificent generosity that is out there fills my heart with joy.”

James Symond, CEO of Aussie, having raised over $110,000 for the charity said, “This event was a humbling and inspiring experience for me. To be able to cook and serve meals and really connect with people doing it tough reminded me that we have a role to play as business leaders – to support those who are vulnerable. I thank my donors for getting behind me, and supporting this wonderful cause.”

For Official Event Photography please visit:

Donations open until March 31, visit


For interview opportunities with chefs, entertainers or CEOs please contact:

Juliana Sedgers at Liquid Ideas | [email protected] | 02 9667 4211| 0424 655 340

Louise Tran at OzHarvest | [email protected] | 02 9516 3877 | 0466 620 744


Connect with us via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter @OzHarvest or Facebook

Get social by using the hashtag #CEOCookOff


The OzHarvest CEO CookOff 2016 is proudly supported by Woolworths, Hostplus, Barangaroo, Clorox, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Wesley Mission Brisbane and a number of generous supporters: