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A TAFE NSW cookery teacher has been the recipient of an OAM in this year's Australia Day honours list.
For over 20 years John Rankins, 76, has taught the next generation of chefs in the Blue Mountains area. This has been in addition to his own career in the local hospitality industry, which dates back to 1971 when he opened his first restaurant, the Brown Horse Inn, at Wentworth Falls. He has also worked at other venues in the area, including the iconic Grand View Hotel.
Throughout his 45-year career as a professional foodie, John's passion for food and cookery has never wavered. It's something that he's always passed on to his TAFE students. John admits that sometimes it's been difficult getting young people interested in a career in hospitality, mainly because it involves long hours and a lot of night work.
"They don't have enough enthusiasm to go into the industry," he told the Blue Mountains Gazette. "But they should. If they do, they'd never be short of work."
John has been both humbled and surprised by the award. "I can think of about 10 other people more worthy than me, but I'm a bit humbled about it," he said. "If the people in the Mountains think I was worthy, that's good."