Issue 12
Monday, 31 July 2017
Charles Darwin University
Praveen Rodrigo and cookery student Billy Wilkes with their winning meal
Praveen Rodrigo and cookery student Billy Wilkes with their winning meal

Pressure helps student cook golden treat

By Patrick Nelson

Cookery student Billy Wilkes has qualified to represent the Territory in the finals of two national culinary competitions.

The Certificate III in Commercial Cookery student said he was looking forward to representing the Territory, along with DoubleTree by Hilton work colleague Praveen Rodrigo, at the Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat Awards in Sydney this September.

He also will put his culinary prowess to the test in the Australian Culinary Federation Fonterra Foodservice National Apprentice final, a competition in which he won a silver medal last year.

“These are high-pressure environments competing against Australia’s best junior chefs,” Billy said.

“But I thrive under pressure; it’s an industry where you go-go-go once the orders come in.”

Billy said the secret to success was practise and training. 

“If you understand your dish, you’ll do well,” he said.

Billy and Praveen Rodrigo won the right to compete in the Golden Chef final by winning the NT cook-off against six other teams at Palmerston campus this month.

Their gold-winning menu included a main course of deconstructed lamb wellington on a smear of carrot puree accompanied by a rosemary, leek and thyme lamb fillet, butter-tossed beans, turned potatoes, yellow zucchini, oven-roasted charred leek with a choi sum mash and shiraz jus.

Australia’s longest running culinary competition, the Golden Chef Hat competition helps junior and apprentice chefs develop their cooking skills and broaden their culinary horizons.