South Australia's top chefs pass on their knowledge to apprentices

14 March, 2014

Over the last month some of South Australia's top chefs have been volunteering their time to teach apprentice chefs from metro and regional establishments.

The chefs have been involved with free 'masterclasses' which are being organised by the Hospitality Mentor Program which is a joint initiative between the state government and Hospitality Group Training and is aimed at stemming the horrific attrition rate of apprentice chefs.

The classes are being held at a new state of the art Hospitality Industry Skills Centre on Pirie Street and focus on teaching the apprentices new skills and techniques that are often not seen in their workplaces or taught in traditional training.

The acclaimed chefs also allow the apprentices to hear about how these iconic chefs built their careers and to discuss the industry with them.

Executive chef of Hentley Farm, Lachlan Colwill held the first class, where he focused on raw seafoods and tartares.

Colwill has an impressive history including best restaurant awards, best fine dining awards, best chef, winner of the national La Chaine culinary competition and 3rd in the international La Chaine culinary competition. Colwill discussed his rise in the industry, his failings and his passion for great produce and the industry.

The second class was held by executive chef of Windy Point, Justin Miles who has recently scooped the pool in terms of awards. Miles taught the apprentices how to prepare and present lesser used meat cuts and discussed the ins and outs of operating a viable and well regarded restaurant.

Upcoming classes will be held by such other iconic chefs as Peter Milosevic and Cheong Liew.

These classes have been heavily supported by the industry and much of the produce that is used is kindly donated, they represent that the industry is working hard to retain their apprentices and give them the greatest possible training to further the culinary reputation of our great state. 

It is likely that these classes will be the last of their kind in the near future due to the Hospitality Mentor Program currently being unable to secure ongoing state government funding.

The program has been highly successful in nurturing the talents of South Australian apprentice chefs and exposing them to products and experiences that they would not otherwise have been.

The Hospitality Mentor Program has been running for the last 20 months, is completely free to participants, and has shown to increase a participant's chance of completing their apprenticeship from 28 per cent up to 86 per cent.

The program has been integral in helping to alleviate the chef skills shortage and to ensure that South Australia trains and some of the best chefs in the world.