Fast-forward to his teenage years and after leaving school, Bailey joined the kitchen team at the Brisbane Convention Centre, where his work ethic and dedication saw him earn a cookery apprenticeship, bringing him to TAFE Queensland.
“My dad’s a baker by trade, and he taught me the basics of cooking and using a knife which got me interested in becoming a chef. And now I’m working in a commercial kitchen and loving it!” explained Bailey.
Bailey's apprenticeship sees him come to TAFE Queensland to formalise his skills by completing a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery (SIT30816).
As part of his apprenticeship, he’s learning the general cookery skills and knowledge to prepare and present food to the highest standards.
His studies are a complement to the skills he learns on the job and the combination of the two are taking his culinary skills to new heights.
“When I stepped into the kitchen for work I knew it was what I want to do. I love the creativity of cooking, being able to approach recipes in different ways and seeing what works and what doesn’t,” said Bailey.
In his second year of studies with TAFE Queensland, Bailey is noticing his cookery skills developing thanks to the hands-on training in the South Bank campus' kitchens. Using industry-standard equipment under the guidance of teachers who are chefs from the industry is seeing him master his craft.
“I came to TAFE Queensland with a passion for cooking and thanks to the hands-on learning, I’m now able to identify the best way to approach certain aspects of cooking,” he continued.
While in the first year of his apprenticeship, Bailey won the 2020 TAFE Queensland Emily C Moody Award, for his outstanding attendance, commitment to his studies and his strong overall progression.
Like many in the hospitality industry, Bailey’s employment was put on-hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wanting to keep his skills sharp, he volunteered with Holland Park Meals on Wheels to help his community along the way.
He helped in the kitchen for four days per week over six months, peeling, slicing and chopping hundreds of kilos of vegetables to be cooked into fresh meals each day.
“It was fulfilling to use my skills to help out vulnerable members of the community. I felt great working in the kitchen and delivering meals to people — just seeing their faces light up when they received something that I had helped create was an awesome feeling,” he says.
His attitude, work ethic and dedication were well received by the Holland Park Meals on Wheels Manager, Megan Beraldo, who was impressed by his attitude and effort to help prepare 450 nutritious meals each day.
“Baily brought a very contagious enthusiasm, can-do attitude and a passion for life. He made everyone feel seen and heard, there was nothing he wouldn't help out with — from prepping to delivering meals and cleaning eskies,” says Ms Beraldo.
“His boundless energy made a huge difference to everyone he worked with. Since work has gone back he still helps where he can and is missed by all.”
In recognition of his volunteering efforts, Bailey received the Young Contributors Award at The Griffith Australia Day Awards to recognise volunteers who perform extraordinary or outstanding voluntary work in the Griffith electorate.
With a year of his apprenticeship left, Bailey’s laser focus is on mastering his cookery skills with an eye on one day becoming his own boss.
“The combination of the facilities, teachers and equipment is providing me a launchpad into the career of my dreams as a chef,” concluded Bailey.