The Gordon TAFE celebrates 130 years in 2017. So each month, we‘re introducing some of the faces that have studied with us over the years to share where they are today, and how they got there.
Name: Jesse Hughes
Studied: Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery)
Now: Chef and Restaurant Owner
Why did you choose to become a chef and what do you love about the industry?
As a young kid I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mum and grandmother, and I just knew that’s what I wanted to do. I left school at the end of Year 10, and mum said that I had to have an apprenticeship if I wanted to leave school. So that very day I got myself a job on the Bellarine as an apprentice! I was determined and have never looked back.
What did you enjoy the most about your cookery apprenticeship at The Gordon?
It’s a great learning environment. You are surrounded by passionate chefs and other apprentices that are eager to learn. I enjoyed learning all the different skills, especially the specialised skills like pastry with Brendan Hill.
You were awarded ‘Best Chef’ at the Golden Plate Awards four years in a row, for your work at the Vue Grand. Where is your career taking you next?
The Golden Plate Awards have played a huge role in my career, as has the Vue Grand. My next big challenge is my own restaurant, ALMA, opening in Ryrie Street this year. The name translates to 'Soul' in Spanish, and the restaurant will be influenced by the cuisine and culture of South America. It has always been a dream of mine to open my own restaurant, and luckily after finishing at the Vue Grand a few things have fallen into place. Watch this space!
How did The Gordon prepare you for the career you have today?
Whatever I’m doing, whether it is preparing a menu, competing, or just cooking during service, I bring my thought process back to my classical training. These skills form the basis of what you do, and if you have those initial skills and can do them well, then you are already halfway there.
Finish this sentence. The person I’d most love to work with one day is…
Ben Shewry (Attica Restaurant). I was fortunate to meet him once as a young chef, and he gave me some words of wisdom then, so it would be great to be able to learn more from him.
Do you get much time to visit other restaurants, and if so, what are the key things you look for in a good meal?
I don’t get as much time as I’d like to visit other restaurants, but when I do, I love to try something unique and creative. There are so many cool restaurants and different types and interpretations of food, and I love that. I guess what impresses me the most is how chefs respect the produce they use. Sometimes it is the simplest things, done with the freshest and best ingredients that are the best.
If you could pass on one piece of wisdom to those considering a cookery apprenticeship, what would it be?
You will get out what you put in, it is not an easy job but the reward is well worth the effort.
Posted: 18/03/2017 6:00:00 AM