On the pass: TAFE NSW Hospitality students help the Hilltops team dish up at the SWIFF x Hilltops Degustation Dinner in April
Woolgoolga local Emmett Weiss, 18, says TAFE NSW has helped him get a head start on his career as he gets ready to hang up his apprentice hat and start living his dream as a qualified chef.
Working in his family-owned café, Bluebottles Brasserie, Mr Weiss discovered a passion for cooking from a young age. He approached his dad about leaving school after year 10 to start a full-time apprenticeship.
"Dad wasn't too keen at first and wanted me to finish school, but I knew that I wanted to pursue cooking as a career, and school wasn't helping me to achieve my passion," said Mr Weiss.
"It was the best decision for me; my teachers were so supportive, and now I want to keep learning different cuisines to develop my own food and open a restaurant one day."
Mr Weiss says the opportunity to work with Richie Dolan and Carla Jones at the SWIFF X Hilltop Degustation dinner was the perfect ending to wrap up his Certificate III in Commercial Cookery.
"Working with Richie and Carla was so different from what I cook every day, and the experience has inspired me to take more risks in the kitchen," said Mr Weiss.
The Osprey Restaurant at TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour Education Campus hosted the SWIFF X Degustation dinner, a featured event at the Screenwave International Film Festival held in April.
TAFE NSW Hospitality students joined Hilltop Stores Executive Chefs Dolan and Jones to prepare and serve a sophisticated wine-paired menu to over 90 guests, showcasing the region's food producers.
Mr Dolan said it was great to see the event come to life on the plate and showcase Coffs's Coast food producers to promote the region as a premier food destination.
"Watching the students be empowered and their sense of achievement working in a high-volume kitchen, whether they prepped or served, was a big highlight for us," said Mr Dolan.
TAFE NSW Head Teacher Gill Robson said the event was a wonderful collaboration with students and staff supporting the Hilltops team to deliver a sophisticated dining experience.
"I am very proud of the high standard of professionalism and ability demonstrated by each of our students," said Ms Robson.
"This a great example of TAFE NSW partnering with industry to enrich our student's learning with real-world skills and experience, helping students like Emmett to launch the next stage of their careers."
For more information on Hospitality courses, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601
Media contact: Kelly Lawler, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist, mobile 0408 481 864