Anna Polyviou started her culinary career in 2000 when she accepted an apprenticeship with The Sofitel Hotel, Melbourne. Anna went on to win the “Best Apprentice in Victoria” competition run by Les Toques Blanc and was awarded a scholarship to work anywhere in the world to further her cooking career.
Anna embraced the opportunity to follow her dreams and took off to work in London for three years at Claridge’s Hotel. At the time, Claridge’s 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 two 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 the Culinary Academy Award of Excellence for pastry.
The Culinary Academy Award of Excellence allowed Anna to travel to Paris to work with renowned Pastry Chef Pierre Herme at Pierre Herme Patisserie at Rue Bonaparte, Paris. Anna returned to Australia and walked into the Shangri-La hotel in Sydney, where she has not only 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, one of Anna’s trademark dishes, an extraordinarily beautiful modernist takes 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 was asked to return as a Guest Challenge Presenter on Masterchef Australia in 2015 and 2016, featuring her Anna’s Mess and Firecracker desserts to the stunned contestants.
Anna’s crazy dessert challenges caught the eye of the Producers of Family Food Fight Australia, and in 2017 she was cast as co-host alongside Matt Moran and Tom Parker Bowles for the prime-time Food reality series on Channel Nine. Series 2 will air in Australia in October 2018, with Anna setting all of the elimination challenges, with her off the wall dessert recipes.
Anna launched her first cookbook Sweet Street in May 2018, and it sold out within weeks.
She has worked with Kenwood as their ambassador, collaborated with Mattel on a Barbie “Junior Executive Chef” Campaign, presented a series of recipes for Expressi by Aldi Supermarkets, and featured in a social media campaign for Singapore Tourism.
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). The festival has gone to a whole new level and tickets sell out in days.
Anna continues her work with Shangri-La Sydney, as Creative Director of Pastry, engaging hotel guests and her TV fans with her fun desserts, and sell-out High Teas.