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Father and son Commercial Cookery students cook up ways to bring community together

TAFE NSW Port Macquarie

Father and son Commercial Cookery students cook up ways to bring community together

A father and son duo studying Commercial Cookery at TAFE NSW Port Macquarie will use their new skills to bring people together and give back to the local community.

Sixteen-year-old Isaac Freeman is studying a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery and has been working as an apprentice chef at Lloydies At Gladstone. Isaac is now planning to travel overseas to grow his experience and plans to one day open his own restaurant on the Mid North Coast.

Isaac’s father, Les, is studying the non-trade Certificate III in Commercial Cookery. Currently working in Kempsey, Les believes acts of service like cooking are a great way to bring people together and plans to use his new skills in the outreach work he does in Aboriginal communities with not-for-profit organisation, Aboriginals for Jesus.

“Learning how to cook is an amazing experience, and I can pass this knowledge on to the people I work with, providing them with new skills too. I believe the idea of showing someone they are valued, by cooking them a delicious meal, builds self-worth for them – and this is when people start to have dreams and build goals for themselves. This is how we can break the cycle of disadvantage,” said Les. 

“I was driving Isaac to class each week, and I thought I would love to develop my cooking skills to bring a new dimension to my outreach work. Given it was a fee free course, I could afford to learn these new skills, and spend time with my son.”

“Isaac has wanted to be a chef since he was ten and has been working in restaurants since he was 12. It is all he’s ever wanted to do, so for me, studying is also about supporting that goal for him, and maximising his journey.”

Isaac is planning to move to Cambodia in September, to immerse himself in the culture and learn new culinary techniques, before coming home to continue his apprenticeship – and one day open his own restaurant.

“They do things differently in Asia – their focus is on fresh ingredients, and utilising each and every part of that ingredient to its full potential and for different uses.”

Isacc says he has big dreams – and his TAFE NSW course is integral to him achieving them. 

“While I’m planning to spend some time overseas, I will return to finish my apprenticeship, as the skills I’m  learning through TAFE NSW are essential to my success,” said Isaac.

“The support I have received at TAFE NSW has been incredible. The teachers really take the time to show you different techniques and encourage you to grow your confidence, and they’ve also helped to open doors with industry connections.”

“And it’s been great to have Dad on this journey with me. We’ve both supported each other so we can finish with new skills to use in the work we do now and in the future”, said Isaac.


Media contact: Lauren McAllister, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, 02 7920 5000.