Chefs get a day to themselves 

Palmerston High School VET student Elle Konieczny, 16, samples the desserts prepared by Phillip Atkinson, an apprentice chef at Crowne Plaza studying certificate II in commercial cookery at Palmerston

International Chef’s Day was combined with a mini-trade fair and Open Day at the Karawa Restaurant on the Palmerston Campus of Charles Darwin University on Friday (20 October).

Students looking to a career in the kitchen, behind the bar or in restaurants and other food outlets were invited to attend, sample the lunchtime cooking of staff and students, and learn more about careers in the hospitality industry from local employers such as SkyCity casino/hotel and the Crown Plaza Hotel.

Organiser of the event was VET cookery coordinator T.Y. Lee, who is president of the Australian Culinary Federation’s NT chapter.

Members of the chapter also belong to the World Association of Chefs’ Society, which organised International Chef’s Day.

“We started celebrating in 2004 and now all over the world October 20 is International Chef’s Day,” said T.Y. Lee.

“The celebration is designed to raise the profile of the chef as a career possibility and acknowledge their contribution to society. We decided that each year in Darwin we would conduct a mini-expo as part of the celebrations.”

A big contingent of students from Palmerston High School were among the visitors to the Karawa Restaurant, where they could sample a range of lunchtime snacks and even make up their own (non-alcoholic) cocktails under the tutelage of bar staff from the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Representatives from the major hotel chains were on hand to explain the career paths available to students wishing to break into the hospitality industry.

SkyCity’s human resources adviser Annette Bullock said the casino and restaurant complex employed a hospitality staff of about 500, which doubled during the dry season.

Jason Wilkes, a qualified chef and VET commercial cooking lecturer told the students that becoming a chef widened horizons and provided limitless opportunities to travel and work.

“It takes a lot of commitment and passion, but in the end there is a great deal of satisfaction in the job,” he said.