The region’s aspiring young chefs were put to the test on Tuesday night at the TAFE NSW Nowra Celebrity Chef Dinner.
Now in its 16th year, the event saw the young apprentice chefs, who are part of the Certificate III Commercial Cookery, teamed with Diploma of Event Management students to be front and centre of a nine-course degustation dinner.
Under the watchful eyes of celebrity chefs Colin Fassnidge, Justin North and Warren Turnbull, the teams produced and served more than 1000 dishes in the one night.
As the name suggests, diners were treated to a night of fine dining, all delivered with silver service.
The dinner exposes the second-year apprentice chefs to the pace of a high-end kitchen, giving them an opportunity to gain real practical skills and experience working alongside some of the nation’s finest chefs.
The evening, hosted by Mark Olive of The Outback Cafe TV fame, started with appetisers including caramelised onion and goats cheese tart, Sapphire Coast rock oysters, chilled konbu and sesame dashi and miso poached pork fillet with XO sauce and pickled seaweed.
That was followed by entrees of sweet corn and basil broth and eel mousse.
Mains included cured Hiramasa kingfish with pickled avocado, wasabi panna cotta and tempura avocado and slow cooked neck and roast belly of pork, pea puree, roast purple carrot and charcuterie jus.
Dessert was a tropical fruit salad with passionfruit curd, lychee and lime granita and a Snickers dish.
Each of the celebrity chefs worked with the students to produce a different course on the evening’s menu.
All the dishes were complemented by locally produced wines.
Another highlight of the evening was the annual awarding of three scholarships in event management, wine and cookery.
Katrina Findlater was announced the events’ scholarship winner. Michelle Burnett won the wine scholarship and Ingrid Lee the cookery scholarship.
A raft of local sponsors, who support the evening were thanked, while guests were also encouraged to employ a trainee or apprentice through the various TAFE NSW programs or invest in a scholarship program to ensure the area continues to grow and nurture its own talent.