Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Serious Cooking

Published: 26th February 2011

In most parts of the world’s hospitality sector it is not uncommon to find a more mature workforce cooking or serving your meal, and here in Australia some twenty years ago this was the case. However for one reason or another the industry’s age went into free-fall and only the young were hired.

When I first started in hospitality I was inducted into a team of mature people who really knew their stuff; I am talking about gloved silver service and other skills that these people executed with much aplomb. Chef’s who learned how to bone out a carcase and a broad spectrum of classic sauces. Skills that may not be used in this particular era are dying out. And now even in a time when our television is flooded with cooking shows, there is not the uptake of younger people entering the culinary workforce.

Restaurants are screaming out for quality candidates to join their kitchen brigades and apprenticeships are at an all time low. An industry forum held in September last year identified the restaurant kitchens as in a critical situation.

Tropical North Queensland TAFE (TNQT) has answered the hospitality industry’s call for a greater number of commercial cookery apprentices by offering a free course to jump-start the careers of twelve would-be chefs.

The Certificate II in Hospitality (Kitchen Operations) is a pre-apprenticeship program for commercial cookery designed to introduce students to the culinary world and secure an apprenticeship. This initiative has been welcomed by a number of hotels and restaurants who have expressed their support.

There is no doubt about it, kitchen life is a hard slog but one that has instant rewards, and one that you can take it to wherever you wish. I am sure there are a number of mature age people who enjoy cooking and would grab the opportunity to make a serious step into a commercial kitchen.

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