This Sunday, February 23, Campbelltown cookery student Chelsea Gaut will set off for Melbourne with her sight firmly set on a $7,500 scholarship.
That’s the main prize up for grabs in the annual Proud to be a Chef competition.
Ms Gaut who lives in Bradbury and attended Mt Carmel Catholic College, is studying at TAFE NSW Campbelltown.
She is one of 31 finalists from around Australia headed to Melbourne as part of a four day Proud to be a Chef cooking showcase.
Each finalist will enjoy an all expenses-paid trip to Melbourne and Tasmania to participate in the long-standing annual event.
The cookery students will be challenged to create their own special dish in a bid to win a $7,500 scholarship main prize.
But they will also receive cooking tips from food industry mentors such as renowned pastry chef Lisa Van Zanten, leading vegan chef Shannon Martinez and chef and television presenter Adrian Richardson.
Ms Gaut, who works at Kepos & Co restaurant and is studying for a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery, said she was “astounded” to learn she had been selected as a finalist in the competition.
“At first I was in disbelief that I had been chosen out of such a large pool of people, then the overwhelming excitement kicked in,’’ Ms Gaut (pictured above) said.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I am looking forward to visiting two major foodie destinations and bringing the practical skills and techniques I have learnt from this experience through TAFE NSW, back to the workplace.
“It is going to be a great learning opportunity and a thrill to work alongside leaders in the industry.”
Marion Fitzpatrick, head of tourism and experience services skills team at TAFE NSW says teachers encourage students to enter competitions and programs such as Proud to be a Chef.
“It’s a key part of the course,’’ she said.
“Learning to create their own recipes, preparing and photographing the meals and following this vision through to the final masterpiece.
“We want all TAFE NSW students to have the best shot at success, and I know Chelsea is well on her way to achieving great things in her career.”
TAFE NSW regional general manager Michael Cullen congratulated Chelsea on her achievements and said that Australia’s largest training provider had produced thousands of highly skilled chefs and bakers over the years.
“The fact that seven TAFE NSW students have won a finalist position in this reputable national program speaks volumes of the talent of our students and the teaching excellence we provide,” Mr Cullen said.
“Our students gain a diverse range of skills while learning in our hands-on facilities and are consistently successful at industry events and in securing highly sought-after chef positions.’’
For more detail on TAFE NSW courses, face-to-face or online, visit www.tafensw.com.au or call 131 601.