Six Wilcannia Certificate III Hospitality Aboriginal students have labelled working alongside Australia’s most famous Aboriginal chef Mark ‘The Black’ Olive at TAFE Western’s Bangamalanha Conference in Dubbo as a truly amazing experience.
Students Danielle Kinsela, Brandee Dennis, Grace Kinsela, Rebecca Shillingsworth, Kayleen Broome and Lois Kinsela joined TAFE teacher Lee Cecchin and The Black Olive in preparing appetisers, main course and dessert for more than 120 people at the conference’s famous dinner.
“The students were ecstatic to get such a wonderful opportunity,” Ms Cecchin said. “And to their credit, the students embraced the challenge and really came into their own.
“Mark was really surprised at the students’ experience and enthusiasm, and was also impressed by the quality of their work and their hard-working attitude.”
Ms Cecchin admitted she was proud to see her students flourish under intense pressure in the kitchen – helping The Black Olive with delicious entrees including prawns and potato skins, main courses consisting of beef and chicken, topped off with a stunning pavlova for dessert.
“To start this journey with the students and see them build their confidence and blossom in this type of high-pressure environment was very rewarding,” she said.
“I think it was a real light bulb moment for the students. They got to use the skills they have been developing in the classroom and also saw that hard work and study does pay off.
“I hope they now go on to bigger and better things, whether that be further study or employment in the hospitality industry.”
Bangamalanha Conference Coordinator Tenesha Bell paid tribute to not only the six Wilcannia budding chefs, but also the hard-working Dubbo Certificate III Commercial Cookery apprentices and Certificate IV Hospitality students who helped cater for Monday’s conference opening and provided table service at the conference dinner.
“The feedback we received from attendees at the conference dinner was really amazing,” Ms Bell said. “Not only was the food delicious, but the service was of the highest quality.”
“It was fantastic for the TAFE students to be able to show off their high skill levels and they should all be very proud of their efforts and take great satisfaction from the positive feedback we received from conference participants.”