What do you get when you put seven of Sydney’s top chefs in one kitchen?
A lot of egos, according to Matt Kemp, one of the high-profile chefs who will visit the South Coast next month as part of TAFE Illawarra’s 10th Celebrity Chef Dinner.
While there may well be a bit of ego, there’s also a lot of altruism from the chefs who are volunteering their time to help mentor 18 commercial cookery students to cook for 120 guests at the November 13 event at TAFE’s Nowra campus.
Kemp, head chef at Gazebo Wine Garden in Elizabeth Bay, will be joined by Peter Doyle (est), Peter Gilmore (Quay), Peter Kuruvita (Flying Fish), Alessandro Pavoni (Ormeggio at the Spit), Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater) and Darren Simpson (La Scala).
Each chef will design a course for the degustation menu and work with two or three students to present high-quality dishes.
‘‘I’ve taken part in the Celebrity Chef Dinner before and I like to get involved to try and inspire these students who don’t have the luxury of choosing to eat at two or three [chef’s] hatted restaurants like Sydneysiders,’’ Kemp said.
‘‘By working alongside very experienced chefs, they get to see how we work and they see the modern technology being used in the production of food.
‘‘We share our food philosophy with them and our passion, in an effort to spark and ignite a bit of passion in them to continue in the industry that we love.’’
Kemp has experienced the tough side of the industry this year, having had to close down his restaurant, Sydney’s Montpellier Public House. But he was snapped up by The Keystone Group to revitalise the menus at several of its venues including Gazebo and Kit & Kaboodle.
‘‘It’s tough times but there’s still plenty of opportunities out there,’’ he said. ‘‘The important thing for students is to understand the area they’d love to be in, and expose themselves to it and learn from leaders in the industry.’’
Nowra TAFE student and apprentice chef Daniel Deluca plans to do just that.
‘‘I’m really looking forward to working alongside these guys – they’re my idols,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve seen a lot of them on shows like MasterChef, which really got me interested in cooking and made me realise that I could do it. I’ll be trying to impress them for sure.’’
Nowra TAFE Human Services, Tourism and Hospitality faculty director Belinda MacKinnon said the dinners had become so popular, a ballot system was needed to allocate seats.
‘‘It’s fantastic that these chefs have decided to put back into the industry and come and work with our students,’’ she said.
‘‘Regional students don’t often get the opportunity to see hatted and high-profile chefs at work beside them.’’