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Marcello Polifrone-Occelli praised at prestigious TAFE NSW awards

Marcello Polifrone-Occelli praised at prestigious TAFE NSW awards

TAFE NSW Northern Beaches student, Marcello Polifrone-Occelli has been recognised for his academic achievements and positive work ethic at the TAFE NSW Excellence Awards in Ryde yesterday.

Mr Polifrone-Occelli, who completed a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at TAFE NSW Northern Beaches in 2018, was announced as the winner of the prestigious Tourism and Experience Services Student of the Year award at a gala awards ceremony at TAFE NSW Ryde.

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager, Alison Wood, commended the winners for the commitment and dedication they have shown to their studies.

“These awards recognise our most passionate, industrious and skillful students, and demonstrates the commitment of TAFE NSW to train the workforce leaders of the future when, where and how it suits them,” Ms Wood said.

“We are confident that the exciting learning opportunities we created for these winners helped them to develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their career.

“TAFE NSW is proud to equip our students with practical skills and work experience so they’re ready to hit the ground running in their chosen field.

“It’s incredibly rewarding for TAFE NSW teachers to watch students like Marcello grow in the knowledge that the skills and talents they learn with us have the potential to transform their lives,” Ms Wood concluded.

Marcello is now working at the renowned two-hatted, Pilu at Freshwater under the mentorship of Head Chef Jason Saxby. Over the last 18 months Marcello has developed exceptional practical skills by relishing the opportunities and time spent in the practical classroom environment whilst being supported by the quality work environment Giovanni Pilu creates.

“During my time at Pilu at Freshwater, I’ve been involved in multiple charity events. These include events for the Royal Flying Doctors Service of Australia and St Edmund’s College for students with vision impairment and other special needs. I feel very fortunate to work in this world-class restaurant and to be able to use quality, fresh ingredients. I get the opportunity to serve modern cuisine using cutting edge culinary techniques which is a dream come true for any chef.  

“I was part of the team that provided the catering service for the 80 person Royal Flying Doctors Service of Australia fundraising event, and the feedback received from patrons was outstanding. In addition, I visited St Edmund’s College to demonstrate to hospitality students’ how to use specific commercial cookery equipment, and taught them basic cooking techniques and skills as their kitchens had just been refurbished,” said Marcello.

TAFE NSW Commercial Cookery teacher, Richard Etherington first met Marcello during enrolment week when he was 17 years old.

“When I first met Marcello, I was blown away for his passion for cooking. To me, it was clearly evident that Marcello had the drive to work in the best restaurants in Australia and internationally. Marcello demonstrates his quality workmanship daily, taking care of each ingredient, selecting all required equipment prior to preparation and then methodically preparing a workflow list to ensure that all tasks are completed efficiently.

“Marcello also adds his own extra touches to each of his finished products ensuring that all menu items produced are exquisitely presented, well balance and seasoned,” Mr Etherington concluded.

Media contact: Laura Kelly, Media and Communications Business Partner,, mobile: 0411 777 676