Blogs (Media Centre)

 Sumi takes a whisk and changes careers

TAFE NSW Campbelltown

Australian’s obsession and love of all things food does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. According to the 2016 Census, the food service and accommodation sector accounts for 738,231 positions or 6.9 per cent of Australia’s total working population.


Of the 738,231 positions, a staggering 80,723 were for chefs, an increase of over 20,000 jobs in the 2011 census. However, despite the increase in job opportunities, TAFE NSW research has found that there is a national skills shortage for qualified chefs with 65 per cent of position unfilled, and 70 per cent of job postings in this industry asked for a certificate level qualification.


After discovering cooking was a therapeutic way to de-stress at the end of the day, 42-year-old father-of-one, Sumidohlo Sutirman (Sumi) is turning his love of baking into a career.


Born and raised in Indonesia, Sumi completed a degree in accounting before moving to Australia in 1999 to study English and IT database marketing.


After becoming an Australian citizen, Sumi worked in the Coles bakery where he remained employed for 18 years and rediscovered his love of baking. Sumi also found that career progression would be near impossible at one of Australia’s largest companies without a trade qualification.


In 2011, it was the love of television show, MasterChef that gave Sumi the final inspiration he needed to follow his passion and get the qualifications required to be in a career he loved.


“Watching too much MasterChef got me thinking about turning my passion into a career,” Sumi said. “When I watched the show, the cooking looked really hard, but then I would do it and find it quite easy because it’s something that I enjoy, there was no pressure, plus I am really good at cooking.”


Sumi enrolled in a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at TAFE NSW Ultimo and is now completing a Certificate III in Retail Baking (Combined) at TAFE NSW Campbelltown.


Sumi has also experienced the high-pressure kitchen environment he gained a glimpse into from watching MasterChef, as he worked at Sydney City IBIS Hotel’s buffet breakfast for six months while completing his studies and working at Coles.  It is Sumi’s love of cooking that overrides the pressure environment.


“Cooking and baking gives me the chance to forget about everything else going on and de-stress,” Sumi said.


Sumi says he enjoys all aspects of learning at TAFE NSW.


“The teachers are great and the people are wonderful. If you’re behind in a task, my fellow classmates will pitch in to ensure that it gets done,” he said.


Sumi has also learnt the art of bread making and cake decorating and hopes one day to open his own café which would feature mini-cakes.



“I look forward to owning a café. I would also like to employ work-experience students from TAFE NSW so they can gain the valuable practical skills they need.”


Sumi will continue to develop his skills through his studies, and practice at home where his cooking is judged and tasted by his five-year-old son.


“I cook him everything, soup, chicken and so far he’s eating it all so he must love it,” Sumi laughed.


To learn more about studying cooking at TAFE NSW visit or call 131 601.


Media contact: Teresa Lane, TAFE NSW Media and Communications Business Partner 9796 5476, mobile 0412 773 887