A recipe for success: Hands-on training for Samantha
Samantha came to Australia as a backpacker and gained experience working in hospitality. After spending time with some exceptional chefs, she was inspired to study commercial cookery at CDU.
Arriving in Australia as a backpacker from China, Samantha worked in restaurant kitchens to earn a living. Their kindness inspired her.
"All my chefs and supervisors – not just Aussies but people from different countries – were super nice to me and they taught me a lot about cooking, which inspired me to become a good chef like them."
A challenging but supportive course
While a course in cooking might sound like a lot of fun, there are many techniques and skills to master.
"The most challenging aspect was the language. Since I have no experience in western cuisine, it is hard to remember not just the English, but French, sometimes Italian or German words used in cooking."
Despite this challenge, Samantha is grateful to the CDU lecturers for their care and support.
The lecturers take care of us with heart. For example, they would cook lunch for us during the theory course and always ask us if there is anything they can do to help make our study easier.
Practical experience in a real restaurant
When the theory is done, it’s time for commercial cookery students to practice in a real restaurant. Karawa Restaurant, on the Palmerston campus, gives students the opportunity to cook for real customers and experience all the challenges of real service.
This practical experience was incredibly helpful to Samantha.
"Working at Karawa Restaurant was nice and practical. It was also intense because it is fine dining style which most of us had no experience in."
We were able to experience the workflow in a real restaurant and get to learn more about real life in a commercial kitchen.
That time spent in a real kitchen was invaluable but, the experience outside the kitchen was Samantha’s favourite part.
"We take turns to go outside the kitchen to talk to the customers face-to-face and listen to their opinions about the food, both positive and negative. This makes us more confident about our abilities to produce good food. "
Ready to get her career cooking
So, after all this experience, what does Samantha hope to achieve?
"I would like to get a job as a chef in one of the best hotels in Darwin. In my studies, I received a lot of information about Darwin’s hospitality industry, which will be helpful for my future career."