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Cookery students win chance to compete on national and international stage

26 July 2022

South Regional TAFE cookery students have enjoyed an extended run of recent success in culinary competitions.

Five current students excelled at the Australian Culinary Federation (ACF) competition held in Perth by taking home four silvers and a bronze.

It was also recently announced that former student Jordan Murphy earned selection for the ACF National Team and will head to Luxembourg to compete later this year.

South Regional TAFE A/Managing Director Kathy Keay congratulated the students on their success.

“We are thrilled with the results our cookery students have achieved in these competitions,” she said.

“Thanks to the support of their lecturers, these students become skilled workers in the community and wonderful role models for other regional students.”

The students studied Commercial Cookery at South Regional TAFE as part of their apprenticeship.

Australian Culinary Federation Perth competition

Results were:

  • First-year apprentices Emma Stride from the Happy Wife, Bunbury and Haydn Billington from the Highway Hotel, Bunbury — silver medals
  • Second-year apprentice Corey Boyd from Two Little Black Birds, Manjimup — bronze medal (trained at the Bunbury campus)
  • Third-year apprentice Ben Connell from Chow’s Table, Margaret River — silver medal
  • Commercial cookery student Siang-Yin Chen (Joyce), Bunbury — silver medal.

Siang-Yin Chen (Joyce) and Ben Connell will be heading to Melbourne in September to represent the college and are set to cook up a storm for the judges.

South Regional TAFE culinary competition coordinator and lecturer Kathryn Tindal-Davies said the fierce Apprentice of the Year competition, held in Perth on June 12, saw students prepare a three-course menu in just over an hour.

The exciting dishes created include fresh ingredients; for the mains salmon and prawns, and dessert needed to include rhubarb and apple which resulted in some impressive sweet treats.

“Competitors needed to be focused to execute this task in the short time frame with hygiene and organisation a priority at all times,” Ms Tindal-Davies said.

“The students should be very proud of what they achieved and the training they did in their own time in order to be competitive on the day,” she said.

National selection

Former Bunbury campus student Jordan Murphy has been selected for the ACF team and will get to compete internationally over the next three years, in Luxembourg this year, Singapore in 2023 and Germany in 2024.

Ms Murphy won gold at the Apprentice of the Year competition in 2021. She was also selected for the WorldSkills Team WA and competed at the WorldSkills National Championships in August 2021.

Ms Murphy, who has never travelled outside of Australia, said she was ecstatic about being selected for the culinary team.

“I was over the moon about being selected. There were so many applicants from all over Australia and when I did get in I was so surprised.”

When Ms Murphy returns from the competitions, she hopes to use what she has learned to support other apprentice chefs.

“I hope I can help and encourage people to compete, as a supporter and mentor,” she said.

 “Anything is possible as a chef in the industry. You don’t have to work in the best restaurant, but you can still end up placing highly.”

Photos of Ben and Siang-Yin Chen provided by the Australian Culinary Federation. 

Find out more about studying cookery at your South Regional TAFE campus: