Several young members of the Sydney Catholic schools community have experienced success at the national WorldSkills competition, including a Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College Burwood (SCCVC) student who was judged one of Australia’s best apprentice chefs.
Jonathan Lee was awarded second place in the Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS) Commercial Cookery division after proving his skills during a varied and intense three-day competition held at Sydney’s International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Apprentice chefs were judged on even the tiniest details, and required to perform precision tasks like deboning a whole chicken and creating high tea treats like melting moments. They knew about some of tasks ahead of time, but others were a surprise or required students to significantly alter a recipe within a deadline of three hours of less.
The school was great and I had a lot of support
On day two, Jonathon created a chicken main of meat cooked two ways with multiple purees and sauces that was required to be served within two hours and 20 minutes.
“The first time I made it, it took over five hours,” he said.
Jonathon said the lifelike competition had really added to his existing experience in commercial kitchens, and had provided networking opportunities that would be invaluable as he planned a career as a chef.
He didn’t think prizes were even necessary to make it worthwhile.
“It was a big shock,” he said of being awarded second place. “I wasn’t expecting it.”
“But it was really good to be recognised for the hard work that I’d put in.”
WorldSkills covers a number of different disciplines, and national competitors were selected based on regional events held across Australia throughout 2017.
SCCVC Principal Patrick O’Reilly was full of praise for both students.
“It highlights the hard work and dedication of their parents, SCCVC staff, and their employers in enabling them to perform so impressively,” he said.
“They worked very hard to qualify for the national competition, spent countless hours in preparation for it, and excelled. To be in the top eight in the country is magnificent.”
Other SCS students who competed at the national WorldSkills competition included:
- Lance Satara and Andrew Palfrey, both of St Joseph’s Trades Skills Centre Hinchinbrook, who placed 3rd and 4th in Automotive
- Joseph Campisi of St Joseph’s Trades Skills Centre Hinchinbrook, who placed 5th in Construction
- Racquele Bechara of Bethany Catholic College Hurstville, who placed 4th in Business Services