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It’s been an incredible ride that has led pastry specialist Stephen Peel to cookery at TAFE NSW. From cooking at the Ritz Hotel in London to meeting Princess Diana, there’s never been a dull moment.
He's now lending his skills to TAFE NSW students at Ultimo and Loftus - in an industry of high growth potential. The number of people working as Chefs grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow very strongly over the next 5 years, from 100,800 in 2018 to 117,500 by 2023.
Stephen grew up in England and after school studied commercial cookery. His teacher saw his talent in patisserie and encouraged him to focus his efforts on pastry.
After achieving a Diploma to study patisserie in Germany he returned to London and began working at the Ritz Hotel in London as a Pastry Commis – the lowest of the ladder in the kitchen.
“They took me on at the Ritz as I had achieved the Diploma in Germany and I spent quite a few years working there – I even baked Liberce’s birthday cake!”
Stephen stayed in London for several years working at hotels and in Michelin Star restaurants.
“I spent some time working at L’Escargot which was a favourite of Princess Margaret and Princess Diana, I was even lucky enough to meet Princess Diana on one occasion. It’s certainly one of the highlights of my career.”
At the tender age of 24, Stephen became the Executive Chef of carnival cruise lines – incredible for someone so young – and spent a few years travelling and working on cruise ships visiting many far-flung areas of the world.
“I eventually settled in Australia and began working as the head pastry chef at the Cables restaurant which is now Sheraton on the Park.”
Stephen spent over a decade as the executive pastry chef at Nick’s Darling Harbour but only really felt like he’d found his true passion when he began teaching one or two days a week at TAFE NSW.
“I really enjoy training and mentoring students - seeing the best in them and helping them achieve their goals. I’ve found my calling – teaching’s what I do.”
Stephen now teaches Commercial Cookery to students at TAFE NSW Ultimo and Loftus, and having worked at every level in the kitchen and risen through the ranks of some of the world’s most prestigious restaurants, Stephen brings his precision, dedication and practical knowledge into every class he teaches. Students benefit from both his incredible culinary skills and his many Australian food industry connections.
“I love that now I can encourage other young chefs to succeed, it's brilliant watching them develop their skills and mature into phenomenal bakers.”
With more than 1200 courses and talented educators with real-world experience, TAFE NSW can help you find your calling. To find out what courses are on offer, visit www.tafensw.com.au or phone 131 601.
Media contact: Alice Dalley, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner, mobile 0402 528 210.