Issue 3
Monday, 14 March 2016
Charles Darwin University
Second Year Apprentice Maria Hoad identifies a Ube (purple yam) as part of the produce test
Second Year Apprentice Maria Hoad identifies a Ube (purple yam) as part of the produce test

Ticket provides golden opportunity

By Leanne Miles

A Charles Darwin University student has impressed at the 2016 Fonterra Proud to be a Chef competition in Melbourne as she rubbed shoulders with celebrity chefs and received several job offers.

Certificate III in Commercial Cookery student Maria Hoad received her golden ticket to attend the event late last year after she was crowned Champion First Year Apprentice at the Fonterra Foodservice National Apprentice Competition.

Of the 33 attendees, Maria was the only Northern Territory representative, and said the four-day event had been an overwhelming experience.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said. “It gave me a glimpse into the world of being a celebrity chef.”

The program included demonstrations and master classes with renowned executive chefs, tours and fine dining experiences at some of Australia’s top restaurants including Fance Nance by Adriano Zumbo.

Maria, an aspiring pastry chef, said the highlight was a masterclass with Australia’s top pastry chef, Anna Polyviou Executive Pastry Chef at Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney.

“It was just amazing to be mentored by her and learn how she started out,” Maria said. “I was even able to have a private chat to her where she gave me some tips on how to progress my career.”

Maria, who was inspired to become a chef growing up helping her grandmother cook in the Philippines, said her heritage gave her the upper hand in the produce test section of the competition.

“Many of the vegetables that we were asked to identify were ones I had grown up cooking and eating in the Philippines,” she said. “It was great to share my knowledge with the other attendees and even some of the executive chefs were interested in my ideas. Some of them even offered me jobs in Melbourne.”