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Female chefs get ahead with industry connections at TAFE NSW


Female chefs get ahead with industry connections at TAFE NSW

TAFE NSW is propelling up-and-coming female chefs into leadership roles by connecting them with Australia’s top chefs through a unique mentorship program, Tasting Success.

Women are vastly underrepresented in the high-turnover food and hospitality industry, comprising less than a quarter of chefs in Australia and only nine per cent of CEOs.

High performing cookery and patisserie students will receive personalised opportunities to prepare them for career longevity and fast-track their skills, such as working shifts in their mentor's restaurant, attending masterclasses, receiving career advice and networking with other industry leaders.

Founder of catering company Good Fairies Katie Galeazzi was mentored by Parliament of NSW Executive Chef Vanessa Harcourt while studying a Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery at TAFE NSW Ultimo in 2022.

“Being mentored by Vanessa gave me so much confidence and competence that I’ll take into the next decade of my life. As a 56-year-old business owner it’s easy to get isolated and think about retiring, but now I’m in the thick of the hospitality industry and me and my business are thriving”, she says.

“I’ve worked in the industry for 30 years, but Tasting Success put all the skills I’ve learned from across my life into context and filled in the gaps.

“My mentor re-connected me to people in the industry who I knew from my 20s, and I got to work on amazing events which ultimately gave me confidence to try new things and diversify my business. It’s completely re-invigorated my life.” 

This year 16 budding female chefs from across the state will be mentored through the program, thanks to the Trade Pathways – Connecting Women to Trades grant of nearly $255,000 from Training Services NSW.

Lyndey Milan OAM, the program’s co-founder and patron says the program is investing in tomorrow’s industry leaders.

“Tasting Success is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that gives women the self-confidence, self-awareness and skills they need to be leaders in the industry, so that they can stay in the field.”

It’s not just women that the program is helping. Australia’s food and hospitality industry needs more chefs, too, with the federal government naming the career one of its top 10 jobs in demand in 2022.

TAFE NSW Acting Team Leader of Cookery, Bakery, Patisserie and Nutrition Sheridan Marz said TAFE NSW’s industry partnerships add great value to students’ learning.

“Hospitality businesses are desperate for skilled chefs who want to stay in the industry, so it’s great to see industry leaders investing in the chefs of the future.

“Our students are getting lifelong learning opportunities and the support they need to stay in the field, so nothing can stop them from becoming future industry leaders.”

TAFE NSW has provided mentorship opportunities for its female commercial cookery and patisserie students since the program began in 2007.

In addition to the mentorship program, up to 100 male and female students will participate in practical workshops with leading chefs across the state over the coming months.

Media contact: TAFE NSW Media Centre,, 02 7920 5000​​​​.