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Lei Lei gave up career as an engineer for a food truck in the desert

Chinese food truck
Lei Lei is a CDU TAFE International Student and the owner of Bao Sisters food truck in Alice Springs.

Lei Lei (also known as Lily) is a former Telecommunications Engineer who came to Australia for a working holiday, and instead found her passion.

Almost three years later Ms Lei has completed a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery, is on track to complete her Cert IV in Commercial Cookery at the end of the year and is now a small business owner of Bao Sisters, a Chinese food truck in Alice Springs.

Ms Lei said her journey travelling and working around Australia ignited her passion for food and cooking.  

“Since I came to Australia I have been working with food, and learning the importance of caring for our ingredients, from soil management to fruit and vegetable picking to food preparation, I have gained a deep understanding of where food comes from and how to enjoy it,” Ms Lei said.

It was during the covid pandemic when Ms Lei fully realised, she no longer wanted to pursue her previous career any further.

“For the first time I was looking forward to going to work, I was on my feet for 12 hours a day sometimes but still felt energised and excited,” Ms Lei said.

“I remember visiting Broome and they had their Food truck festival; it was a celebration of food and culture; it planted the seed for me for my next big goal.”

This was when Ms Lei made the ultimate decision, she decided she did not want to accept her Master’s position at University College Dublin and began researching cooking courses in Australia instead.

“I started looking into studying cookery at CDU, I moved to Alice Springs, and I began to research food trucks,” Ms Lei said.

“The course through CDU has been invaluable as I have learned so much about the food industry, the course is so much more than just learning how to cook good food.

“We learn how to run a kitchen and restaurant, from food orders, budgets, health and safety, front of house customer service, conflict resolution and customer experience.”

Ms Lei said that her cooking course has helped inform many decisions regarding her food truck, and to understand the business.

“I don’t think I would have been successful with the opening of Bao Sisters if it hadn’t been for the course, when I was communicating with Work health and safety, I knew what was expected,” she said.

Bao Sisters has now been running for just over a year, first opening on 1 July 2021, and has been a huge hit with the local community as well as tourists, after a big weekend at the Alice Springs show they will be open every night at Alice Springs Discovery park.  

Almost 50 international students are currently enrolled in the Culinary Arts and Hospitality program at CDU TAFE Alice Springs campus.

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