TAFE’s Nowra campus has a reputation for producing chefs of an impressive calibre – now, the establishment wants to show off some of that local talent.
The Heroes of Destiny’s dinner will highlight the achievements and journeys of five former students who have taken their skills and gone places.
Those places include Michelin-starred restaurants in France, hatted restaurants in Australia’s major cities and fine dining establishments around the world.
Their journeys also include rubbing shoulders with restaurant royalty in the high-pressure kitchens of Peter Doyle, Peter Kuruvita, Giovanni Pilu and Mark Best, to name a few.
Some of these high-achieving chefs have returned to the Shoalhaven, lifting standards and opening their own businesses.
TAFE Tourism and Hospitality head teacher Di Laver said the dinner would be a celebration of the past students and the current crop of third-year Commercial Cookery apprentices who will present an eight-course degustation.
“The success of our heroes can be attributed to the Tourism and Hospitality team at Nowra who realise the need for our local apprentices to broaden their horizons in a food sense and a geographical sense.
“I want the Shoalhaven to know the standard of the chefs in the area. The calibre of these people coming back to the region is impressive.
“We are privileged to have these past students return for his event, showcasing their own food style and philosophies along with mentoring the apprentices,” Mrs Laver said.
Daniel Fulginiti is a TAFE hero with an impressive list of kitchens under his belt.
He works behind the scenes at Deli on Kinghorne but his journey before that was varied.
From TAFE’s commercial kitchen he convinced Sydney chef Darren Simpson to take him into the hatted Aqua Luna Restaurant in Sydney.
There, he cut his teeth under the kind of pressure that “sorts you out”.
“There was a huge amount of pressure in that kitchen,” Mr Fulginiti said.
“It was sink or swim and if you couldn’t handle it, you were out the door, and I loved it.
“I learned a lot there about really good basics and about cleanliness,” he said.
After Aqua Luna, he found himself in The Cut, one of New Zealand’s finest restaurants.
“That restaurant was rated as the best in that part of the South Island at the time. I also worked at Seagrass in Huskisson, ran Pavilion in Berry for a few years and worked in a number of cafes.
“Now I have settled here to find a work-family balance.”
Mr Fulginiti said the access Nowra TAFE offered its students to celebrity chefs was a big deal.
“It helps because if you show those chefs you are keen and have the skills, the reward is there,” he said.
He said being a chef was a competitive business with diners wanting everything and the pressure on the kitchen to look after everyone’s dietary requirements.
“People want it all, they want quality and quantity and, depending on where you are, they want it at a certain price.
“Being a chef is a love-hate relationship but it is never boring.”
Heroes of Destiny’s will be held at Bomaderry TAFE’s training restaurant Destiny’s next month.