Australian chef Shane Osborn is near and dear to Foodie’s heart, with his refined modern European restaurant Arcane scooping the Best Restaurant award at the Foodie Forks 2016 and the chef himself named our Food Hero in 2017 for his commitment to clean, healthy eating and concern for his diners’ dietary needs in terms of food allergies and intolerances. His trailblazing fine-dining vegan tasting menu is particularly noteworthy on the plant-based dining scene.

Arcane’s vegan Japanese fruit tomato and imam bayildiArcane’s vegan Japanese fruit tomato and imam bayildi

Before landing in Hong Kong, Chef Osborn’s 30 years of experience included a decade spent as co-owner and head chef at two-Michelin-starred Pied à Terre in London, where he pioneered the use of local produce, even creating a rooftop garden at the eatery (with limited space in the 852, he does the same on Arcane’s terrace).

Fans of culinary competition shows should check out Netflix’s The Final Table, which launched globally on 20 November, featuring Chef Osborn as one of the cooking contenders.

Image title Shane Osborn and Mark Best compete as a team on Netflix’s The Final Table

Shane Osborn and Mark Best compete as a team on Netflix’sThe Final Table

The series showcases 12 teams of two chefs from around the world cooking the national dishes of Mexico, Spain, England, Brazil, France, Japan, the US, India and Italy, with each episode focusing on a different country and cuisine. Chef Osborn’s partner in culinary crime is fellow Aussie chef Mark Best of Bistro by Mark Best.

The competition gets under way on The Final Table

The competition gets under way on The Final Table

The teams are culled each week based on feedback from experts including the top chefs from each country represented, culinary greats such as Carlo Cracco of Italy, Grant Achatz of the US and Yoshihiro Narisawa of Japan. When only one team remains standing after the eliminations, these two chefs compete for a place at The Final Table with the nine leading chefs from around the world.

We asked Chef Osborn to tell us more about competing on the series:

How did you get involved with the production of The Final Table?

I was approached by a casting agent based in LA. Having never liked the premise of other culinary competitions, The Final Table presented something really unique; it approached a cooking show in a way that was new and exciting.

Did you know your partner, Mark Best, before being teamed up with him? What was the dynamic like working with him?

Mark and I had met a few times at various events, but we never had the opportunity to cook together. Working with Mark was wonderful; he was the perfect teammate. We have great culinary chemistry and bonded from day one.

What was your most memorable moment from filming?

In each episode, we had to cook a dish from a new country around the world. The French episode was my favourite. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but you will have to watch the episode to find out!

What was the most difficult part of the competition for you?

Timing. We had just over 60 minutes to collect our ingredients, grab the equipment we needed, cook and plate a dish that we had never prepared before. Knowing that we were up against serious competition, each one of those hours was the fastest of my life!

What was your favourite country and cuisine to work with?

I think India was a great challenge, as we really had the opportunity to think outside the box, but the French challenge was definitely my favourite.

What was it like being judged by the nine culinary icons? Were some more critical than others?

Being judged by the nine culinary icons was a really unique experience. They definitely had some very tough decisions to make throughout the competition – I wouldn’t like to be in their shoes!

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Stephanie Pliakas is the Digital Editor of Foodie. From Michelin-starred fine-dining to the local comfort-food eats dished out at cha chaan tengs, she has immersed herself in the 852’s ever-changing food scene since making Hong Kong her home more than a decade ago. When Stephanie is not devouring something delicious, she’s cooking and baking up a storm at home (whilst listening to true crime podcasts).

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