'My dreams of working in a real kitchen are being realised with the help of (teacher) Michael Simmons - he is an incredible mentor to all apprentices.'
This week gold medal winning cooking apprentice Laura Skvor will represent Victoria when she travels to Tasmania to compete in the National AUSTAFE competition.
Fresh from her recent gold medal win at the regional AUSTAFE competition in Frankston, Laura took out gold again at the competition’s Victorian state finals in Lilydale on September 26, to qualify for the national competition. She was also judged best overall Victorian cooking apprentice.
Next year she will represent Australia in Guangzhou, China, in the finals of the most prestigious gastronomy event in the world, the Bocuse d’Or. TAFE helped her get there.
Earlier this year Laura formed part of the Australian team as commis chef, with Michael Cole, head chef at Georgie Bass Café in Flinders. The final will be held in Lyon, France in 2019.
Simmering passion for cooking
'I started cooking at a young age - whether it was cooking at home or finding my first job in the kitchen at 15 as a bakers/patisserie assistant,' she says.
While Laura didn’t make the finals of MKR when she and her brother, Mitch, competed on the show in 2016, the fuse had been lit. 'It was an incredible experience that truly awakened my desire to be a great chef,' Laura says.
TAFE developing the culinary leaders of tomorrow
Laura is studying a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at Chisholm’s Rosebud campus and has an apprenticeship at Petit Tracteur, on the Mornington Peninsula.
Michael Cole, Laura’s Bocuse d’Or teammate, was linked with Laura through Chisholm’s industry engagement program.
'My dreams of working in a real kitchen are being realised with the help of (teacher) Michael Simmons - he is an incredible mentor to all apprentices,' Laura says.
'He’s teaching us solid foundations of cookery as well as inspiring us to continually be creative in our culinary endeavours and excel in our work kitchens.
'At Chisholm Rosebud, I have already learned so much and I’m really looking forward to the future.'
Mr Simmons is equally proud of his students’ success and links with industry.
'Without the work of Chisholm’s commercial cookery and hospitality team, we would not have had the industry links for this to occur,' he says.
'We look forward to the next chapter during the semi-finals, which will determine the road to Lyon.'
Where will TAFE take you?
TAFE Victoria has kick started the careers of some of Australia’s most well-known chefs, including George Calombaris and Curtis Stone who both studied at Box Hill TAFE.
It’s the place where career aspirations can be fulfilled.
Research conducted on behalf of the Skilling Australia Foundation show that TAFE graduates have a greater likelihood of being employed and earn more than university graduates.
TAFE’s strong connection to industry means it can offer and support the courses and provide you with the skills and training most likely to lead to the job you want.
For more information, see: TAFE Victoria