Kids in the kitchen

AUGUST 2010

The Jupiters College Apprentice Program combines qualified chefs from around the world to teach culinary experts in the making.

It is believed to be the only integrated hotel program in Australia and has helped more than 140 students complete their Certificate III in Commercial Cookery.

Home to seven restaurants and one of Australia’s largest banquet kitchens, Jupiters provides apprentices with an environment in which to learn the tricks of their trade. Uniforms, text books and meals are provided as part of the program.

General manager of hospitality, Danny Bucalo, says apprentices are rotated through each of the five kitchens and are able to gain valuable experience across various fine dining options as well as production and pastry kitchens.

“By exposing our apprentices to these varied areas of the business we aim to equip them with the very best insight into their chosen trade and to let them experience different cuisines, styles and demands,” he says.

While spending most of their time in the heat of the kitchen, students also attend TAFE once a week onsite to complete the theory component of their national qualification.

Bucalo says the program provides a high level of support and guidance to the apprentices both with practical and their theory components.

“The program has been designed to not only give our apprentices the training they require to excel in their trade but also the support and guidance they need to build on their confidence and become true leaders in their field,” he says.

“We have a very hands-on approach and are able to provide mentoring and guidance to each individual apprentice throughout their journey.”

Jupiters College graduates have gone on to further their careers in destinations around the world including Michelin star restaurants in Europe, a $400 million boat cruising the Mediterranean and in the UK alongside Gordon Ramsay.

“Our industry thrives on creativity and passion, two characteristics we really try and nurture at Jupiters College,” says Bucalo.

“While we would love our apprentices to stay with us for years to come, we are very proud of their achievements and the fact they are securing outstanding opportunities all around the world.”

Program culinary trainer and course designer Mark Kujawa, says around 50 per cent of apprentices are retained by Jupiters, but are urged to get out in the world and further explore their talents.

“It’s important to get as much experience as possible and to expand their skills in a broad range of environments, then come back to us with those skills,” he says.

Kujawa speaks from experience – he completed his apprenticeship at the hotel in the late 1980s.

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