Students and apprentices from over 11 TAFE’s and RTO’s in Victoria donned their aprons, sharpened their knives and pitted their culinary skills against each other at the Australian Culinary Challenge this year to battle for the top honours.
Supported by principal sponsor Fonterra, the AusTAFE State Finals were held at Fine Foods Melbourne, and saw over 80 apprentices across various stages of their training compete over four days of challenges, judged by some of the most prominent chefs from across the country.
Kangan Institute , William Angliss, Bendigo TAFE, Holmesglen Institute, Chisholm TAFE, Federation Uni –Gippsland Institute of TAFE, Wodonga TAFE, Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, Box Hill Institute and GOTAFE were all present at the four day event, which saw students and apprentices compete against each other.
Kangan Institute was represented by first and second year apprentices as well as full-time culinary students studying at the Broadmeadows Campus.
First year Apprentices, Rocco Morabito currently working at Sam’s Café in Niddrie, and Samuel Wood, from Sam’s Boatshed in Williamstown, both walked away with bronze medals on the first day of the competition!
Second year Apprentices Renee Weedall, currently serving her apprenticeship at the Kangan Institute Café, and Jonathon Spiteri, an apprentice at the Watergardens Hotel showed a high level of skill in their category, but were unable to secure a medal spot.
Krystine Borg, a full-time culinary student at Kangan Institute also competed and secured a bronze medal on day three of the competition.
Top honours went to Charith Jayaweera, who not only secured a Silver medal on day three of the competition but also won the highly prestigious award for “Best Culinary Student Victoria”, at the awards ceremony held at the Arts Centre Melbourne.
Kangan Institutes Manager for Hospitality & Tourism studies, Shawn Vlaeminck was delighted by the top performance of his students and apprentices, and the level of skill and maturity they demonstrated through the competition. “What a fantastic achievement for Charith who only started with us as a full time culinary student in 2014. Congratulations to him!” Shawn said.
Charith, overwhelmed by the victory and the award said “This is an amazing honour and I would like to thank my teachers, Sonya Sutton and Darryl Selzer who mentored me every step of the way to the state final”.
This is only the beginning of the road for Charith, who will now go to Adelaide to compete in the Australian Culinary Federation National Finals at the Regency International Centre from the 20th to the 24th of October 2014.
Both Sonya and Darryl will be working closely with Charith to prepare him for the national finals, and believe that he will once again shine amongst the competition.