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A grand opening for the ages

Joe Ormeno, Gayle Tierney MP and Christine Couzens MP open Culinary PrecinctThe launch of our $23.5m Culinary Precinct marked a grand milestone as industry’s finest were welcomed to celebrate 135 years of evolution in training and education for the sector. 

The unveiling of our stunningly refurbished, state-of-the-art Culinary Precinct comes at a time our region's tourism and hospitality sectors are facing significant staffing challenges. They need a new pipeline of industry professionals to take them far into the future. The combination of commercial venues and world class training facilities will ideally position The Gordon to deliver talented, qualified staff with hands-on experience. 

Greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Bellarine peninsula boast a plethora of wining and dining hotspots, many with Gordon alumni at the helm. Past students, Matt Podbury, Jo Barret, Shane Delia, Tobin Kent and Dwayne Bourke, impressed at our grand opening. Each demonstrating ingenuity, passion, and an unrelenting drive to adapt and thrive. Their stories were bought to life through a panel discussion with a few notable guests asking questions including Matt Preston, Jeroen Weimer and the Hon. Gayle Tierney MP.

The official launch commenced in The Davidson restaurant, The Gordon's first building which opened in 1887. Now transformed, The Davidson will open for a la carte dining in mid-September. Daniel Brehaut is the Executive Chef and has created a contemporary menu featuring native Australian ingredients. 

The Social Café and Barista School redevelopment has breathed new life into another historical building – and returned it to its roots. The red brick space was initially erected in the late 1800s as the Institute's cafeteria. Opening in early 2023, it will allow the public to enjoy sweet and savoury food prepared by students and the best coffee in town! 

The Culinary Academy was first constructed in 1890 to house the plumbing, carpentry and art modelling building. It is now an amphitheatre style demonstration kitchen. Matt Podbury, Chef Patron of La Cachette who commenced his training at The Gordon, was joined by award-winning food journalist and ABC radio presenter Matt Preston to showcase the venue during the launch. The large-scale screens gave onlookers a bird's eye view while absorbing the often colourful narrative of our guest chef. 

The Share Plate rounds out the Culinary Precinct with a dual-purpose education environment and conference space for businesses and groups to conduct events for up to 100 patrons. A soon-to-be-added outdoor deck will ensure the seasonality of the area.

It's exciting times as we embark upon this new chapter in our history. The magnificently restored Culinary Precinct, outfitted with the latest technology and equipment, will skill and train future industry leaders as our region prepares to host a growing number of international events. We're ready, and we're looking forward to inspiring the next generation of culinary and tourism trailblazers.

You can keep up to date with what is happening in The Davidson restaurant and our broader Culinary Collective here or follow The Culinary Collective on Facebook @theculinarycollectivegeelong and The Davidson on Instagram at @thedavidsonrestaurant.

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