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TAFE NSW Nowra announces this year’s celebrity chef


TAFE NSW Nowra announces this year’s celebrity chef

4 November 2019


TAFE NSW Nowra students will be working alongside one of the masters of the hospitality industry on 19 November for the 17th TAFE NSW Celebrity Chef Dinner.

TAFE NSW graduate and renowned chef Chris Thornton has worked at Michelin Star restaurant The Ledbury in London and has earned his place among industry greats having secured a Chef’s Hat for seven consecutive years at his Newcastle restaurant, Restaurant Mason.

Commercial cookery, hospitality and events students will spend two days in the commercial kitchens and training restaurant at TAFE NSW Nowra with Thornton, creating a dining experience to highlight their skills as well as the flavour of local produce.

It will be a double delight for local foodies with Netflix series The Chef’s Line, Indigenous celebrity chef, Mark Olive emceeing the night.

The annual degustation dinner exposes the second-year apprentices to the pressure of a high-end kitchen, serving more than 1000 dishes in one sitting. The event also gives students an opportunity to gain practical skills and work experience as they cook under the direction of one of the nation’s top chefs.

Mr Thornton said he was looking forward to the experience and planned to share insider secrets as well as industry insight. “I’ve heard good things about the dinner from other chefs,” he said.  “It’s important for us to highlight to people that this is a very fulfilling industry to work in.

“I can cook at a high level, enjoy my profession and have a social life – I hope to show them that. I’m trying to do as much as I can to encourage TAFE NSW students to stay in this industry and progress in their careers.

“For TAFE NSW Nowra to facilitate this opportunity for hospitality students, is a great thing. It gives me a chance to show apprentices from regional areas the endless possibilities with food. You need to taste and feel and experience different food, to see what it’s all about.”

Commercial Cookery Teacher Luke de Ville has worked alongside all of the chefs who had taken part in the TAFE NSW Celebrity Chef Dinner. He considered it a prized opportunity for a hungry apprentice chef looking to get ahead in their career.

“This experience is one way that TAFE NSW connects students with over 25,000 employers in our network and that our graduates are equipped with the job-ready skills employers are looking for,” Mr de Ville said.

“Chefs like Colin Fassnidge, Peter Doyle, Giovanni Pilu, Peter Kuruvita have worked with the students in the past, reinforcing the commitment of TAFE NSW to provide students with exposure to learning from the best in the business.”

The national and local restaurant and tourism industry play a role in supporting the degustation dinner and the students.

Three work placement scholarships will be presented to students at the event. One commercial cookery student will received the Ian Strathie Memorial Scholarship to spend a week in a celebrity chef’s kitchen, an events student will receive the NowChem Scholarship for work placement at the International Convention Centre or Doltone House, and the Silos Winery Estate Scholarship winner will gain industry experience at Silos Estate Winery.

The event is also supported by a range of local businesses including Nowra Fresh, Nowra Farmers Market, Southern Style Events and Bangalay Luxury Villas.

Tickets to the Celebrity Chef Dinner can be booked by phoning Amanda Maynard on 4421 9848 or emailing

For more information about studying at TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit


Media contact: Adam Wright, TAFE NSW Media Officer, phone 4421 9895, mobile 0466 375 552.