On Tuesday (25 July) eight J & J O’Brien (JJO) apprentice chef’s relocated their showcase dinner from Sydney’s well-known Jordons seafood restaurant to The Belvedere Hotel. The event highlighted their knowledge and skills at the 8th annual JJO Apprentice Chef Dinner, event.
The 1st and 2nd year Ryde and Mt Druitt TAFE students who were lead by industry professional and JJO group executive head chef, Daniel Fountain, served guests, including parents, teachers, industry personnel and suppliers, an array of appetizing dishes.
The participating apprentices with JJO head chef Daniel Fountain.
When asked about the creation and design of the menu, the apprentices ranging in age from 16 to 19, reflected on everything from ideas from previous employment, recipe books, internet, kitchen mentors and their own skills and ideas gathered from their time working in kitchens.
The event is run each year to provide apprentices within the group the opportunity to organise a fully catered function along with organising the finer details including guest list and menu design to last drinks.
Fountain said of this year’s event “As I have always said, it’s all about the apprentices. The event will help them to become our future chefs of Australia. I am very passionate about what I do and for the past 15 years have been very hard on training apprentices to reach their goals while they work under me.”
Apprentices preparing dessert for the event.
When asked to comment on the current industry trends, Fountain goes on to say “Sustainability issues are the new scene in kitchens with more regional country kitchens doing well because they only base menus on what produce they can get from the town they are based in. City restaurants are struggling, big time, due to many issues with the economy.”
Fountain knows this all too well with the recent closure of JJO’s iconic restaurant, Jordons Seafood, due to a lease agreement. The apprentices had originally planned the dinner at the well-known establishment but were sadly faced with the task of relocating and rescheduling due to the news.
“Unlucky for us was the closing of Jordons which then put us back behind schedule.”
In light of this, the apprentices progressed and delivered a function that was both professional and delicious! Despite the nerves when asked to talk about the dishes and then having an open forum for guests to question the chefs, the overall feeling at the end of the evening was one of achievement, pride and graciousness.