The once and future king

Queanbeyan charity HOME will benefit from a  $20,000 donation after a cook off between Member for Monaro John Barilaro and local chef Michael Bagley.

Walsh’s Hotel Chef Michael Bagley (front left) and John Barilaro (front right) with staff from HOME Queanbeyan and Walsh’s Hotel, Mr Bagley was crowned Queanbeyan’s seafood king. Photo supplied.

Walsh’s Hotel Chef Michael Bagley (front left) and John Barilaro (front right) with staff from HOME Queanbeyan and Walsh’s Hotel, Mr Bagley was crowned Queanbeyan’s seafood king. Photo supplied.

In the end Mr Bagley, Walsh’s Hotel chef, was crowned Queanbeyan’s seafood king at last Monday’s culinary cooking challenge, raising $20,000 for HOME in Queanbeyan.

More than 80 seafood connoisseurs packed Walsh’s Hotel to taste the competition dishes and donate to a local charity that helps the mentally ill live independently.

A panel of judges admitted it was a tight contest between the professional cook and the Deputy Premier.

“All the dishes were fantastic, but Mr Bagley’s edged out slightly in front,” said HOME in Queanbeyan manager and seafood judge, Anne Pratt.

“We are so thankful for the money raised which will help us help those with mental illness in our community.”

Despite being disappointed with second place, Mr Barilaro said he was pleased with his efforts and said the most important thing was the money raised for a great cause.

“It was a tight contest and I congratulate Mick on his excellent dishes,” said Mr Barilaro.

“Last night’s event raised $10,000 which is a fantastic effort by the community. The NSW Government will commit $10,000 to the cause, meaning $20,000 will benefit our amazing local charity HOME in Queanbeyan.”

Mr Bagley, the reigning seafood champion, said he thoroughly enjoyed the event especially the friendly rivalry in the kitchen.

“John’s dishes were amazing. He performed solidly and should be pleased with his dishes,” Mr Bagley said.

“It was down to the wire in the end and I just got lucky on the night.

“I think we cook curries next time.”

HOME provides 24-hour support accommodation for people living with a mental illness.

The charity operates as a not-for-profit charity organisation with 20 units in Queanbeyan.

A unique venture HOME was the first of its kind to open in Australia. 

Each resident has their own one-bedroom self-contained unit, the HOME team providing vital support.

Crucially, the charity doesn’t rely on government funding thanks to the support it receives from the Queanbeyan community.

HOME relies on partnerships with businesses like Walsh’s Hotel to continue operating.

It has now built out the land on which it operates and requires community support to maintain its current level of service for tenants. 

Donations can be made through the HOME website: