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Through uncertainty careers flourish

Chandelle_qualified chef at Piano Bar GeelongBeginning your culinary journey during a global pandemic may seem a little crazy. Still, with more time on hand, these recently qualified chefs saw it as a prime opportunity to return to study. 

Shandelle Cooke, a chef at popular entertainment venue the Piano Bar, took full advantage of the chance to gain a qualification and advance her career, "As a mature aged student, returning to study was daunting, and yes, there were a few meltdowns, but I felt so supported at The Gordon. I love being inspired and feel fortunate to have studied under such amazing chefs. They were so talented and forthcoming with their knowledge and experiences. It really made a difference." 
Shandelle's career reflects her passion for food, song and travel, "I see the symmetry between food and entertaining. They are both creative outlets, so this is one of the reasons I was keen to become a chef. Having worked on cruise ships and travelled the world opened my eyes to an amazing array of cuisines, and I have a true passion for cooking. This was ingrained in me early on with Mum's great home cooking." 
Callum Macpherson, the owner of Geelong wine store and bistro Bottles and Barrels, wasn't perturbed by the difficulties he faced, "The shock factor of returning to school as an older student had its challenges, but my appreciation for food and flavours made me even more determined. Studying commercial cookery really did reinvigorate my joy of food and cooking."
"Starting my hospitality career as a kitchen hand, I knew my way around the kitchen but was prepared to return to the basics and show my vulnerability and inexperience. This is the best advice I could offer anyone looking to study, strip away your preconceptions and some misconceptions and build your knowledge base on a new foundation,"
said Callum. 
Callum_qualified chef_Bottles and Barrels GeelongIn 2022, The Gordon Culinary School completed its $23.5 million-dollar renovation, which now sees the TAFE boasting world-class training facilities. Callum and Shandelle trained before, during and after the completion of the upgrades. 
"The unit kitchens are second to none. With amazing combi ovens and specialist equipment, there really is no better place to undertake your commercial cookery studies. Retraining through a renovation and COVID had its challenges, but I always had the finish line in sight," Callum concluded. 
"Having had nearly all of The Gordon's chefs train me along the way, they brought a new experience to the classroom and were so happy to share their wealth of knowledge. Everything I learnt was relatable and were things I could put into practice at Bottles and Barrels. It just makes my business work better, and it really made training at The Gordon the best," said Callum.
To start your career in the kitchen this July, visit