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Chef Bowden’s career takes on many layers

Chef Andrew Bowden had enjoyed the most illustrious 30-year career — notably cheffing for the likes of the late, great Michael Parkinson, among other celebrities, as an Executive Chef at the London-based ITV television network, as well as working in Paris and Dubai. 

Early in his career, Chef Bowden commenced his apprenticeship at the Le Jules Verne under Chef Alain Reix, a three Michelin Star restaurant on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which prepared him for fast-paced roles in other Michelin Star restaurants across Europe.

Following a move to Australia, Chef Bowden ran the Members’ Dining Room restaurant at Queensland’s Parliament House in Brisbane during sitting weeks, and then managed his own catering company at the Gold Coast for more than 13 years, before the pandemic saw him move to a different ‘venue’.

“When COVID-19 was rife and had all-but shut down the hospitality industry, I thought perhaps it was time (and a sign) to try something new,” said Chef Bowden.

“So, in November 2022, I began my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40116) and I commenced my teaching role with TAFE Queensland in May 2023 in Ipswich and then in Warwick.”

“I now teach Certificate II through to Diploma level courses in cookery and hospitality management at TAFE Queensland’s Ipswich campus and Certificate II and III courses in cookery at the Warwick campus.” 

“Watching my students build on their knowledge and develop their confidence in the kitchen is incredibly rewarding — it’s great to see the difference in my students from when they first start, to towards the end of their training.”

“The quality of dishes that they plate up is remarkable,” beamed Chef Bowden.

“Due to the smaller class sizes, particularly at our Warwick campus, the students get one-on-one attention.”

“Our Warwick-based students, as part of their Certificate II in Cookery (SIT20421), complete 12 days of industry placement, where they put the skills they’ve learnt in the commercial kitchen into practice. Often this placement can lead to paid work opportunities.”

Reflecting on his past, Chef Bowden offered: “I had gotten to a stage in my catering business where people would say to me, ‘Oh, this food’s amazing!’ and I would just be like — ‘Okay, thank you’. It just wouldn’t register. But now, if a student says to me, ‘Oh, thanks for showing me that’ — that is what makes me happy. It's a totally different experience and tells me I’m supposed to be doing this (teaching) now.”

Chef Bowden continues to stay in tune with industry trends and is currently supporting one of his peers with a new food venture in Brisbane.

“I remain in the industry by constantly researching food, which I love to do,” he said.

“I’m helping a friend, Chef Andrew McCrea, with his unique gastronomic tasting menu experience in Fortitude Valley, Perspective Dining. He’s offering a nine-course degustation menu, and I’m assisting him there which is a really interesting experience.”

Speaking of the future, Chef Bowden forecasts a move away from what's long been considered culinary ‘luxe’, offering: “We’re starting to go back to more classical food.”

“The industry is kind of doing a full circle — it’s leaving behind the smears, the foams and gels, and we’re going back to where cookery started - with a lot more indigenous ingredients,” shared Chef Bowden.

Chef Bowden’s cookery students, and the local venues where they work, are enjoying a fresh, new culinary phase for the Southern Downs’ growing hospitality and tourism scenes.