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Hats Off to WA’s Young Golden Chefs

By Gwen O’Toole

At just 19 years of age, West Coast TAFE apprentices Cameron Wetton and Shane Middleton have claimed a gold medal and overall victory at the WA Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat Competition.

The winning duo, Cameron Wetton and Shane Middleton.

The West Coast Academy of Hospitality and Tourism continues to produce future master chefs with its apprentices making a clean sweep of the gold medals on offer at the Australian Culinary Federation’s 2009 WA Apprentice of the Year Competition, held last Sunday (August 2).

Finalists from around the state competed head-to-head preparing two portions of an entree, main and dessert. After careful consideration by some of the state’s most renowned industry experts, West Coast TAFE apprentices claimed gold across all three categories (1st, 2nd and Final Year Apprentice) and made it a trifecta in the overall WA Apprentice of the Year award.

“West Coast TAFE apprentices have once again stepped up to the plate and impressed judges with their creativity, attention to detail and culinary skills that are testament to the quality training they receive here at the Academy,” said Academy executive director, Patrick O’Brien.

The medal winning apprentices will form the nucleus of the West Australian team which will travel to Sydney in September to compete against fellow apprentices and industry professionals in the Sydney Culinary Challenge.

“I have to take my hat off to these fine young apprentices,” said Academy executive director Patrick O’Brien. “The dishes on display at this competition were some of the finest I’ve ever seen and testament to the quality of apprentices that this state is producing.”

With a mystery box of ingredients and a three hour time limit, the competition not only tested the apprentices’ technical abilities but also their flair and creativity in delivering a three course culinary masterpiece for critical review by World Associate Chef Societies (WACS) judges.

Halo Restaurant and former academy apprentice Royston Clark and Sian Cole also displayed an impressive performance, claiming a gold medal for their dishes and finishing only one point behind the Joondalup Resort winning pair in the overall competition.

The Joondalup Resort duo will now represent WA and compete against state and territory finalists in the National Nestle Golden Chef’s Hat Award in Sydney in September.