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This is about top city chefs recognising the talent and
skills of TAFE apprentice chefs in the regions
Day 2 of our TAFE road trip and I started at Nowra Campus. There's
always a lot going on at Nowra, but this week there was a particularly
excited buzz in the air, due to the annual TAFE Celebrity Chef event.
Methinks I timed my visit well.
TAFE Celebrity Chef is Nowra Campus' signature event, and has been
going for 12 years. It's seen 12 high profile head chefs work in the
kitchens at Nowra TAFE, alongside apprentice chef students who get to
experience working under chefs who have a "hatted"
restaurant. The resulting sumptuous, multi-course meal is then served
to approximately 150 enthusiastic diners in the elegant surrounds of
Destiny's recently-renovated on-campus training restaurant.
And to top it all off, this year's celebrity chef was none other than
Mr Colin Fassnidge! My taste buds were already dancing in delight.
The brains, heart and nerve behind TAFE Celebrity Chef is Senior Head
Teacher, Di Laver, who retires in September after 37 years in the
industry. I had a coffee and a chat with Di, who is clearly as
passionate as ever about the event and the legacy she'll be leaving
behind for others to continue.
Local industry and businesses are very supportive as well, with all
proceeds contributing towards future scholarships for local students.
Another aspect of the event that makes it so wonderful is that it
provides an opportunity for students from different faculties and
industry areas to work together, such as Events Management, Tourism
& Hospitality, Building & Construction, and of course, Screen
& Media to record it for posterity.
of Events student Ben May played a big role this year. He's been
busy organising a lot of the supporting activities and themes that
help make the night memorable for everyone. Part of Ben's idea was to
design and construct a vertical herb garden, which would provide herbs
for some of the night's dishes.
His Diploma of Events classmate, Elly Bailey mused on what TAFE
Celebrity Chef means to her. "It's a new experience for me,"
she said, when I chatted with her between courses at the official
‘media centre'. "It gives me a new understanding of how an event
like this works, how it's all put together. Seeing it all from
backstage is fascinating."
Rohan, a Diploma
of Screen & Media student also ponders on the
"backstage" aspect of a large, glamorous event like TAFE
Celebrity Chef. "Often it seems like complete chaos back there,
but you realise that it's actually pretty orderly," he said.
"It's interesting learning how to keep it all going amidst ‘chaos'."
Illawarra Institute Director, Dianne Murray, is rightly proud of TAFE
Celebrity Chef and what it means for the Institute and for local
apprentice chefs. "This is about top city chefs recognising the
talent and skills of TAFE apprentice chefs in the regions," she said.
So how did I (and my taste buds) experience the 2014 TAFE Celebrity
Chef? Yum!… think seared scallop served with avocado puree… think
petuna ocean trout with horseradish snow and vanilla cucumber… think
chocolate delice with corn flake ice cream. Mmmmm. I'm still thinking
of them now. Thanks Nowra TAFE and congratulations to everyone
involved in 2014 TAFE Celebrity Chef.
Next stop... Shellharbour.