HILLS students took out four of the top five places in the Hospitality Group Training ‘Taste of the Future’ schools cooking competition on July 28.
First-placed Jezzie Hatch, from Swan Christian College, won an apprentice scholarship valued at $6000.
HGT general manager Iain McDougall said her level of skill was comparable to cooks who had been working in the industry for several years.
“She could start an apprenticeship tomorrow and be well in front of her peers skills-wise,” he said.
“With the maturing of the Perth hospitality scene and the continued worldwide shortage of chefs, a competition like this gives young people the launching pad to a career that guarantees them a job forever.
“It is fantastic to see a new generation of chefs that enjoy food as a passion and not just a job.”
Swan Valley Anglican Community College student James Corby came second, while Rachel Russell (Ellenbrook Christian College) was third and Ella Dorsett (Mundaring Christian College) placed fifth.
Jezzie, Rachel and Ella attend Swan Christian Education Association schools, and do its hospitality program, run by the Swan Trade Training Centre.
“To turn that passion into a career, you need equal parts of inspiration and education,” centre head Peter Bolt said.
“This competition gave students the opportunity to showcase their culinary skills and passion for cooking.
“These students have been working hard every Friday for the last two years and it is excellent to see them be recognised for their hard work.”
Mr Bolt said SCEA staff Melinda Edwards and Anna Cardillo, as well as those from training organisaiton Advanced Institute of Training and Consultancy – Livio Barilaro, Chris Martin and Rob De Carmo provided “fantastic training and support of the students”.
Jezzie also won a $500 cash prize, while the finalists also received cash prizes, and their schools each received a $1000 voucher for kitchen equipment.
Twenty-three schools entered the competition at Belmont City College, with years 11 and 12 students submitting essays on why they wanted to be chefs and photos of dishes they had created.
The 12 finalists produced one restaurant-quality plate with an hour of preparation time and 45 minutes cooking.
Judges included Stephen Clarke, of Clarke’s of North Beach and Don Hancey and Perth Arena executive chef Paul Beard.
The fourth finalist position was won by Tyson Perkins from Narrogin Senior High School.