A CUT ABOVE: Gabrielle Streader, is participating in WorldSkills Cookery Competition at Wollongbar TAFE.
A CUT ABOVE: Gabrielle Streader, is participating in WorldSkills Cookery Competition at Wollongbar TAFE. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

The cream rises to the top during apprentince chef cook off

WHIPPING up a three course meal good enough to satisfy a panel of picky judges was the pressure cooker game for seven apprentice chefs at Wollongbar TAFE yesterday.

The young chefs were taking a shot at fame and glory in the regional heat of the 2013 WorldSkills cooking competition, an internationally recognised professional cooking event

The winner will travel to Perth next year for the nationals and compete for a place in the 2015 international final in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

But yesterday it was all about the job at hand - juggling goats cheese, chicken and chocolate, among other things - into three dishes that passed muster with the judging panel.

Using a set list of ingredients, chefs were judged on everything from knife techniques and pasta making, to food hygiene and even choosing the right pot.

First year apprentice Gabrielle Streader, looking forward to starting a new job at Byron at Byron next week, hopes one day to become a chocolatier in Paris.

"When I was two I always used to love looking at pastries," she said.

Last year she visited one of the creative capitals of chocolate in Bruges, Belgium, where "every third shop was a chocolaterie".

"I'm more of a dessert person," 17-year old Gabrielle admitted modestly.

She still managed ravioli with butter and thyme sauce, chicken breast with mushroom and goats cheese, and her masterpiece dessert, a chocolate marquise with spice apple and creme anglaise.

Whether they win or not, competing in the WorldSkills competition is a career boon, said TAFE cookery teacher David Forster.

"It's what they get out of it personally - the ability to put themselves outside their comfort area, the ability to test themselves against other competitors. They will grow an extra step within their career," he said.

Previous winners have made illustrious career moves such as running a chalet in France, or picking up a promising role in London's gigantic food scene. Many plum kitchen roles come from word of mouth and contacts.

"Hospitality is a tightly knit community and this competition gives the students the opportunity to get their name out there," Mr Forster said.


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