Top chefs join with govt and corporates to mentor Indigenous trainees
22/06/2012 - Chefs from Sydney's top restaurants have combined forces to create the new National Indigenous Culinary Institute, which will see potentially gifted candidates selected for the Indigenous Chef Traineeship in a competitive process in August 2012.
The course has been designed by Australia's top chefs and other prominent industry figures in partnership with the respected William Angliss Institute, incorporating intensive Skills for Success training prior to final placement and offering Indigenous mentors to support participants throughout their training journey.
The mentor group includes Neil Perry of Rockpool, Guillaume Brahimi of Guillaume at Bennelong, Michael McMahon of Catalina, Aria's Matt Moran and more than a dozen other top chefs - augmented by Barry McDonald of Fratelli Fresh and food writers and critics Terry Durack and Jill Dupleix.
Rockpool owner and chef, Neil Perry, says the hospitality industry welcomes the opportunity to provide Indigenous trainees with the skills and training required to work in the country's finest dining establishments.
"Anyone with natural ability should be able to receive the right training and experience," he says.
"Our longer-term aim is for Indigenous chefs to be a major force in the Australian restaurant industry."
Fairfax Media reports McDonald's belief the restaurant industry should strive to match other sectors in its promotion of role models.
''We have iconic Indigenous sportspeople in the community to look up to. Let's try to do the same thing (in the restaurant sector),'' McDonald asserted.
The program is marked by its strong leadership component, with mentoring a key element to help trainees achieve their potential. There will be a focus on the history of Australian gastronomy, on the selection of quality produce, and the ethics of suppliers and growers in food production.
The participants selected for this Indigenous Trainee Chef program couldn't find better leaders, with up to 12 of Australia's top chefs becoming culinary guardians in the program, placing trainee chefs in their award-winning Sydney restaurants for on-the-job mentoring and training.
In future years, the National Indigenous Culinary Institute will source and place students in other cities.
The institute's Indigenous Trainee Chef program offers participants an excellent opportunity to gain unique training and experience using modern technology and contemporary techniques. All who successfully complete the program will start their culinary careers in one of Australia's top restaurants.
To date 15 Australian corporations have committed to financially support and to be involved in the National Indigenous Culinary Institute. Funding is also being provided through the Indigenous Employment Program by the Australian government.
The Indigenous Land Corporation is supporting the initiative as part of its commitment to increasing training and employment opportunities for Indigenous people.
The National Indigenous Culinary Institute is led by Bill Wavish, David Baffsky, Barry McDonald, Ross Grant, Bill Sweeney and Mark Arbib.
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