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Tran and Nicholas are cooking up a career

This article appears in: Balance work, life and study, Studying in Australia, TAFE, Tourism and Hospitality
Palmerston Cookery students

Business was in the blood for Nicholas, but he knew he didn’t want to follow in his family's footsteps. He felt hospitality and the food industry calling out to him. Similarly, Tran has loved cooking since she was a little girl. Coming from the small country of Vietnam, she wanted to relocate to make her big culinary dreams a reality. 

It didn’t take either of them very long to decide to study commercial cookery at Charles Darwin University. 

Studying at CDU

Nicholas chose to live and study in Darwin as he already had a family member living locally.

He feels that CDU is a great environment to learn and get the necessary guidance needed to succeed.

The lecturers really care about us, and CDU has really good equipment to support our study. If you really want to join this course, you must know that everyone can cook, but not everyone can be a chef.

With his chef training in full swing, Nicholas enjoys attending the hands-on events as part of being a student at CDU.

“One of these being the Chef’s Table, where we have the opportunity to meet a lot of great chefs from the Northern Territory.”

From city girl to laid-back life

VET Palmerston Cookery

Born in the largest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, and having spent three years living in Sydney, Tran was ready for a change of pace.

“Having been a city girl for almost my entire life, Darwin is all about nature and community, which is a different aspect that I want to explore.”

Tran also feels that there is an abundance of opportunities in Darwin to succeed in her career.

She even participated in the charity event, Mooncake Festival, for the Chung Wah Society.

“We made 300 mooncakes for the Moon festival that took place in September. The job meant a lot to me as I was able to contribute and help the less fortunate.”

Juggling life and study

Prioritising study is something Tran finds challenging, especially if she comes across a clash in her schedule.

“When it comes to choosing work or study, I always prioritise study as it is more important. It can affect your long-term career path.”

She takes much inspiration from the qualified chefs who are teaching her courses. 

“They are incredibly patient and informative," she says. "They have taught me everything I need to know to prepare for a real commercial kitchen."

Goals after graduation

 cookery students walking at palmerston campus

Not only does Tran have a desire to cook for a living, but she also has plenty of travelling in her sights once she graduates. 

She views her commercial cookery training as a sort of passport. 

To me, being a chef is like a key to open the door to travelling since this job is very versatile.

"In the long run I hope to bring all my skills with me to travel and explore the world," she adds.

Nicholas’ career goal is to own his own café one day. But for now, he’s taking things one step at time.

I hope I can graduate from CDU and make a contribution to the hospitality world.

Explore commercial cookery at CDU or find out more about studying in Darwin.  

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