Anna Polyviou started her culinary career in 2000 when she accepted an apprenticeship with The Sofitel Hotel, Melbourne. During this time Anna won the “Best Apprentice in Victoria” competition run by Les Toques Blanc. The prize was a scholarship to work anywhere in the world to further her cooking career.
Anna embraced this opportunity to follow her dreams, and took off to work in London for three years at Claridge’s Hotel; at the time it was regularly awarded the best hotel in England. During her stay in London, Anna had the opportunity to work under two extraordinary pastry chefs, Miss Julie Sharp, (UK’s best Pastry Chef, 2004) and Nick Paterson who was awarded the same prize 2 years later.
Anna continued to enter competitions, many of which she won. Most prestigiously, she took the top honours with the Nadell Trophy (Dessert of the Year) and also the Culinary Academy Award of Excellence for pastry. This award is only given to a limited number of young pastry chefs.
The Culinary Academy Award of Excellence award allowed Anna to travel to Paris to do a stint with renowned Pastry Chef Pierre Herme at Pierre Herme Patisserie at Rue Bonaparte, Paris. This dedicated and driven Pastry Chef walked into the Shangri-La hotel in Sydney, four and a half years ago. Since then, she has transformed the pastry team, but has also become the driving force behind the revolution of patisserie in hotels around Australia. Her sell out Dessert Degustation in her pastry kitchen has put the Shangri La on the culinary map in Australia.
In 2014 Anna hosted one of Australia’s first dessert festivals, ‘Sweet Street’, at which 600 fans packed into the hotel’s ballroom to down more than 5000 desserts created by Anna and her pastry friends (including Kirsten Tibballs, N2, Adriano Zumbo, Lux Bite and Tim Clark). From then, the festival has gone to a whole new level and tickets sell out literally in days.
In 2014, one of her trade mark dishes, an extraordinarily beautiful modernist take on the traditional Carrot Cake won best dessert in Australia – an award presented by Foodservice. She was then featured on MasterChef Australia with that very same dessert.
Anna had a great year in 2015 – she was named the ambassador for Smooth FM’s highly popular Chocolate Festival, and has been featured on MasterChef Australia a number of times over the last few years – most recently showing off her Chocolate Fire Cracker to the stunned contestants.
Anna continues to work with Kenwood as their ambassador, helping them launch their new range of kitchenware. She is currently collating a collection of her favourite dessert and pastry recipes to include in her very own cookbook due to hit the book stores in 2018, and most excitingly, is filming a brand new prime time TV show for Channel Nine. Family Food Fight will feature a number of diverse and multi-generational Aussie families as they go head-to-head to take home the title of ‘Australian Greatest Food Family’. And as this wasn’t enough for one year, Anna was announced as the winner of the Best Chef of the Year at the TTA Awards.
Anna continues to be in great demand both around Australia and overseas and life doesn’t seem to be slowing down for the Punk Princess of Pastry.