Hanging Local has gone virtual!

Join us in this new online series for your chance to shine and show off your cooking skills! Chef vs Student is part of Hanging Local’s program, designed to connect international university students in Melbourne’s west and make their university experience the best that it can be.

In this series, you will cook alongside a renowned chef from one of the best restaurants in Melbourne’s west and compete with other fellow students. Each episode will feature a different cuisine to take you on a journey around the world. Hosted by a hilarious comedian, we welcome students, friends and family to participate live with us.

Students can register to participate in one of three ways:

  1. COMPETE & COOK: Steal the spotlight by cooking on screen with our chef and compete with two other students.
  2. COOK & LEARN: Cook along as an audience member at home, where you can enjoy the meal and entertainment. Ingredient packs are available for order to be delivered to your home.
  3. JOIN US: Join us for the laughs and watch live on the day to see your peers cook and vote for your favourite chef.

The first 30 students to register will receive a free ingredients pack, so what are you waiting for? Register now to join in! Once these are gone the ingredients pack will be available for purchase at full price.

Best Dish Competition

After each episode airs, students in the audience will have 48 hours to upload a picture of their dish (this can be cooked live or after the episode ends). This will then be shared on VU’s Student Life Facebook page, and the student who receives the highest amount of likes on Facebook will win a prize!

Best dish



Date: Thursday 17 September
Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm AEST

For our third episode Head Chef and Owner Jack Lee from the Bean Smuggler will share one of his secret recipes, inspired by both Japanese and Korean cuisine.  Join us live from the comfort of your own home as we learn to cook Jack’s Spiced Duck Breast with Miso Couscous, Grilled Cos Lettuce and Gochujang Dressing. (The vegetarian alternative is Spice Roasted Zucchini.)

Jack will be joined by comedian host Alex Ward, along with three keen and excited Victoria University students who will compete live as they recreate this dish.

To participate you can register to watch or o receive an ingredients pack to be delivered to your door (Victoria University students only, limited availability) or purchase your own ingredients and cook along with us at home.

Register to participate

Episode 3 Recipe Card

About our Head Chef, JACK LEE from BEAN SMUGGLER

Jack Lee, Owner chef of the Bean Smuggler Cafe in Point Cook. Jack moved from South Korea, and graduated from WIlliam Angliss Institute Melbourne.

In his early days, he worked for two chefs hatted restaurant in Adelaide as a senior sous chef. In 2016 Jack competed for the Chaine des rotisseurs Junior chefs competition and won the Australian title. He then competed and won 2018 Chef of the Year competition.

Jack later moved to Melbourne to open Bean Smuggler cafe in Point Cook, Melbourne’s west.

His cooking style is a combination of experiences in modern Australian restaurants with Asian background.


Since 2018 Alex has appeared on ABC Comedy’s Up-late, Audible’s 2019 live stand-up series, Tonightly with Tom Ballard, Triple J’s Good Az Friday, Melt Comedy Gala and performed at Splendour In The Grass. By day Alex is a writer for Network Ten’s ‘The Project’. With personal, engaging and punch-line heavy comedy, Alex is one of Australia’s fastest rising up-and-comers.


Watch the event via website



Our second episode allowed viewers to experience the true taste of Greece with chef Alex Xinis from Aly Food, who showed us how to dish up marinated calamari with fava and a brown butter and caper sauce. Comedian Angus Brown Comedy hosted the episode, bringing lots of laughs, whilst three Victoria University students competed live.

About our Head Chef, Alex Xinis from Almost Like Yiayias

Alex is an experienced international chef and hospitality consultant who has a passion and natural talent for cooking that has taken him around the world to work alongside many acclaimed chefs in the industry.

In 2011 Alex decided to deepen his understanding of the Greek culture and its food, and moved to Greece to work at a Michelin star restaurant.

From 2019 Alex has been a consultant, primarly for the Modern Greek Food Group operating in London at Opso in Marylebone and Pittabun in Soho. In March he also designed the food and consulted for the pending opening of Sri Lankas first greek restaurant Olea Kitchen in Galle.

Since the pandemic, Alex has opened a food delivery service, ALMOST LIKE YIAYIAS operating in West Melbourne.


Angus Brown is a Melbourne based comedian actor and writer. He has toured his stand-up specials all across Australia and the UK, and most recently can be heard playing “Kyle” in the hit podcast series ‘The Story Symphony’ on which he was also a writer.

He is also the writer of several plays, including the award winning The Needle and the Damage Done and the Australian feature film The Dream Children.

Angus loves cats, but owns a dog, who is named Beetle and looks like a seal.

View past event – Journey to Greece

Episode 1: Taste of India

Our first episode of Hanging Local took our at-home viewer’s tastebuds to India as three Victoria University students competed and learned how to cook an Indian Chicken Curry with Head Chef Sumit Malhotra from Aangan Indian Restaurant in West Footscray.

About our Head Chef, Sumit Malhotra from Aangan

Sumit moved to Australia in 2002. He was determined to make his mark in this uncharted terrain. After working as a chef in various restaurants, it was in 2004 that he unveiled his first ‘Aangan’ restaurant in West Footscray. His menu showcased the traditional Indian dishes. His cooking and presentation style along with the true Indian ambiance, the restaurant was an instant hit.

Passion to learn and resolution to do nothing but the best laid the foundation of his subsequent ‘Aangan’ outlets one each at Derrimut, Bundoora and Shepparton. Today with four outlets, Chef Sumit Malhotra is an established name Down Under. His endeavor of spreading the taste of India with authentic Indian cuisine has made him a noted restaurant owner and operator in Australia.

About our comedian Host, Lauren Bok

Lauren Bok is an award-winning comedian from Melbourne with over 8 years experience in performance, radio and TV. She does mimes, burlesque, stand up and silly voices.

Along the way she’s enjoyed multiple sold-out shows, rave reviews, best-newcomer lists (Pedestrian.tv and Broadsheet) was nominated for the Golden Gibbo at MICF 2019 and won Best Emerging Artist at Adelaide Fringe 2016, as well as writing for SBS Comedy and The Age.

Follow us on the Hanging Local Facebook page for more event updates.

This program is brought to you from Western Melbourne Tourism and Victoria University. Proudly supported by Study Melbourne’s International Welfare Program, a Victorian Government initiative.