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Apprentice chefs serve up a five-course sensory dining experience

TAFE Queensland’s training restaurant, Futures, presented a delectable degustation event for more than 75 local food aficionados recently.

Guests indulged in a meticulously crafted five-course meal featuring the region’s fresh produce, which was thoughtfully prepared by TAFE Queensland’s talented chefs-in-training and served by hospitality students.

The curated menu was a sensory delight, created by cookery apprentices from several esteemed Darling Downs venues, including Jak & Mo Taste Co and Tins and Trays in Gatton.

Jak & Mo Taste Co apprentice chef, Samuel Ovenden (pictured above right), is following a lifelong dream to pursue a career in the industry, and the opportunity to prepare the degustation enabled him to finesse his sweet making skills.

“I have a passion for food, and I enjoy honing my skills in baking breads, cakes and creating desserts,” he explained.

While Chandler Diesing (also pictured above right), an apprentice chef at Tins and Trays, is fulfilling her lifelong dream of pursuing a culinary career. And the degustation allowed her to refine her pastry-making skills.

“At Tins and Trays, my boss is also a patisserie chef, so I’ve learnt heaps from her. During my apprenticeship I’ve enjoyed learning more about pastries and cakes — all the sweet things. I’ve always loved cooking from a young age,” Chandler said

“Tonight’s menu featured a consommé, duck dish, crab, and my specialty, crème brûlée, for dessert followed by a cheese platter,” she explained.

TAFE Queensland Commercial Cookery Teachers, Stephen Simon and Rob McGrath, who have decades of industry experience between them, said the event was the perfect opportunity to highlight the exceptional skills and talent of local apprentice chefs.

“This fine-dining experience is a key date on our training calendar, and our apprentice chefs, who are nearing the end of their apprenticeships, look forward to showcasing the skills and knowledge they’ve developed to date,” explained Steve.

“Before each course, they shared their vision for the meal and highlighted feature ingredients that contributed to the menu’s theme, with guests,” said Rob.

“Here in Toowoomba and across the wider region, it’s great to see our food and hospitality scene thriving — it’s the perfect training ground for our up-and-coming chefs,” added Rob.

The apprentice chefs worked closely to craft a delicious degustation menu. Pictured, back row, left to right: Li Qiang, Trae Hill, Samuel Ovenden, Qaharamann Khudhur and Dahna Ehrlich. Front row, left to right: Olga Walker, Chandler Diesing, Hunter Cover and Mary Santos.

Darling Downs cookery apprentices can hone their skills and gain industry-essential knowledge at the training kitchen at the TAFE Queensland Toowoomba campus which is stocked with commercial grade equipment.

From preparing seafood, meat, and poultry dishes to mastering knife skills and teamwork, TAFE Queensland’s commercial cookery courses, led by experienced educators like Rob and Simon, cover essential aspects of the culinary profession.