An already monumental year for seven talented TAFE Western Certificate III Hospitality Aboriginal students from Wilcannia has just become even more historic, with confirmation the group will accompany Aboriginal celebrity chef Mark Olive (aka The Black Olive) to Margaret River, Western Australia, later this month.
The students have been invited by The Black Olive to help him and other world-class chefs at the week-long food festival Kambarang, after the students made a huge impression assisting him at TAFE Western’s Bangamalanha Conference in August this year.
The students also gained national exposure when they successfully catered for separate important events in Wilcannia for NSW Governor General David Hurley and Minister for Regional Development, Skills and Small Business John Barilaro.
TAFE Western Tourism and Hospitality Teacher Lee Cecchin said this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was made possible thanks to funding from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and TAFE Western, and she expects the group, who are called the Barka Nhuungku’s (meaning I River Women) to make the most of the experience.
“This is a life-changing opportunity for these seven ladies to get to attend Kambarang, where they will get to practise and explore Aboriginal bush foods and flavours with some of the best Aboriginal chefs in the world,” she said.
“It will give the students the chance to adopt traditional and modern cooking techniques, provide them with real-life experiences in restaurant situations, teach them to think on their feet, develop their problem solving skills and participate in a number of events that will show them that anything is possible.”
The students will be in WA from November 15 to 20, and will participate in engaging activities each day that coincide with their Certificate III Hospitality TAFE studies.
This includes making entries into their journals; learning key aspects of workplace health and safety; learning how to observe food safety; participating in cooking masterclasses with different chefs including The Black Olive; attending a cultural walk where they will learn about the use of Indigenous foods; learning how to set table places and chairs; as well as preparing food, serving, catering and lots more.
TAFE Western Acting Institute Director Adam Bennett said the students; Colleen Wilson; Brandee Dennis; Rebecca Shillingsworth; Kayleen Broome; and Danielle, Lois and Grace Kinsela; were an inspiration for fellow students in remote locations in NSW and expected them to excel at the food festival.
“It’s a very rare opportunity for this group of Aboriginal women,” Mr Bennett said. “Not only is the Barka Nhuungku group unique, they’re skillful, hard working and very inspiring.
“Hard work has earned these students this exciting opportunity to work with some of the best chefs in the world and I’m expecting them to do their local small community of Wilcannia very proud.”
For more information about the Kambarang food festival, please visit http://kambarangfestival.com.au/