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Clarence Valley apprentice chefs Scott Wright and Rachel Hall. Image: contributed

Local apprentices served delicious opportunity

Emma Pritchard


Two aspiring apprentice chefs from the Clarence Valley were among 32 finalists from across the country to be recognised for their excellence and creativity and invited to participate in the ‘Fonterra Proud to be a Chef’ program held at Melbourne’s Willian Angliss College earlier this month.

Led by award winning master chefs Mark Normoyle, Stephen Nairn, and Joane Yeoh, and regarded as one of the most prestigious apprentice chef mentorship programs in Australia, the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program offers participants the opportunity to refine their skills and establish connections within the culinary industry through workshops and dining experiences.

Scott Wright and Rachel Hall, who have recently completed their Certificate II in Commercial Cookery through TAFE NSW at the Grafton campus, were thrilled to be part of the four-day event.

“It was an unbelievable experience,” said Mr Wright, whose inspiration to follow his culinary passions began while working as a kitchen hand in an Indian restaurant in Yamba.

“I just got hooked on it (cooking) while watching the chefs work around me.

“It was great to be involved with the program and meet professional chefs and make new friends.”

After completing work experience at the Bowlo Sport and Leisure in Yamba, Mr Wright said he is focusing on continuing to improve his skillset, adding he would love to travel the world and experience different cooking styles and cuisines.

Rachel Hall, an apprentice chef at the Australian Hotel in South Grafton, also relished the opportunity to participate in the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program.

TAFE NSW Grafton Commercial Cookery Teacher Bernadette Ryan said the program provides a unique opportunity for participants to learn from the best in the business.

“Alongside all the practical skills students learn through TAFE NSW, we pride ourselves on helping them get a foot in the door with sought after industry relationships,” she explained.

“The value of this program is incredible, providing so much knowledge alongside unique experiences.”

Rachel Irwin, Fonterra Australia’s Head of Innovation and Brand Marketing, said the life-changing program was created almost 25 years ago to give young apprentices exposure to leading professional chefs.

“As a business, we believe in the power of education and mentorship, and by collaborating with training institutions like TAFE NSW we aim to play a pivotal role in shaping a successful and sustainable future for the food industry.”

Clarence Valley apprentice chefs Scott Wright and Rachel Hall. Image: contributed