John Javier: Hospitality – Certificate III Commercial Cookery (Apprenticeship)

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John Javier: I am John Javier. I currently
work at Quay restaurant and I’m enrolled at TAFE as an apprentice chef. I work at Quay
four days a week and I do one day at TAFE. It really is a perfect combination of work
and study. Growing up I wanted to become a chef but my
dad was also a chef and he always told me not to do it. I eventually had to take up
the pan and start cooking at home and I really enjoyed it; I love cooking. I was enrolled doing advertising and my heart
wasn’t really in it. When I was still thinking about becoming a chef I emailed a few restaurants
and Peter Gilmore was nice enough to email me back and told me to come in for a chat. We agreed that I’d do an unpaid work experience
here and that was the start of my cooking career. There’s a lot of pressure working at a restaurant
such as Quay as an apprentice. We’re still expected to perform the same way as any of
the senior chefs, we still have the same responsibilities and the food still has to be of the same quality. TAFE really gave me the foundation I needed
in my cooking skills. You can cook the most creative meals but at the end of the day you
still need the building blocks. You get a lot more hands-on experience and
it also allows you to work in the actual industry. A lot of other places you have to study the
whole time and you don’t really get hands-on experience. Part of the course involves becoming head
chef for a day at TAFE and we actually do lunch or dinner service for diners and we
have to create our own menu and the rest of the students actually execute that, not just
in creating food but planning finances for that as well. So we’ve got the sourdough crumbs on the outside,
the goat’s curd is underneath and the salad is all layered on top of each other. Most of the people you’ll find in the kitchen
have started at TAFE and generally restaurants are more accepting of TAFE students. Anyone can pick up the skills to become a
chef. To be a great chef though you need talent. I think that’s probably the key ingredient. The hardest part is taking the first step,
getting enrolled at TAFE and deciding you want to become a chef. I’d like to open my
own restaurant some day; not any time soon, there’s still lots to learn but, yeah, definitely.

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