Sea’s bounty inspires Barragga’s hatted chef, TAFE students

He’s gone from TAFE NSW student chef, to the kitchen of the world’s best restaurant - Noma in Copenhagen.

Now, restaurateur Will Wade is keen to show future chefs the South Coast can offer more than pub grub.

Ants and sea urchin tongue are about as far from chicken schnitzel and steak Dianne as you can get, but the alien-like ingredients were a refreshing change for a group of TAFE NSW Bega cookery students recently.

With his haul of fresh seafood, piled on the beach among a variety of seaweeds and other coastal plants, Mr Wade inspired the students to think beyond meals based around meat and veg.

After foraging along the coast for fresh local ingredients, the students spent the day cooking with the hatted chef at his Barragga Bay restaurant, Long Time No Sea.

For those dining at the restaurant, it’s very much about breathtaking ocean views and the simplicity of local flavours. For the students the focus was on the possibilities to come from their morning’s bounty and practical work experience.

In only a few years since graduating from TAFE NSW, Mr Wade has worked around the world at the pinnacle of fine dining and is passionate about passing on his skills and knowledge to emerging South Coast chefs.

“Growing up in the area I thought being a chef meant only working with pub food. Now I’m about helping get the kids out and showing them that it’s not,” Mr Wade said. “Having the skills to be able to adapt to different produce is one of the most important things a chef can learn.”

After talking with TAFE teachers Deirdre Jory and David Arens, Mr Wade and his partner Sophie decided they were in a position to offer an industry partnership.

“I think it’s important to give back. These TAFE NSW students are the future of the industry,” Mr Wade said.

Mr Arens said the students came up with some amazing dishes on the day. Marlin sashimi with pickled kohlrabi, soy and finger lime, being among them.

“It was about Will’s way of drawing inspiration from the local environment to enhance dishes, but still using foundation cookery techniques, skills we teach at TAFE NSW,” Mr Arens said.