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Great Chefs Challenges and Inspires Angliss Students

Guests were wowed by the exquisite dishes at the famed William Angliss Institute Great Chefs dining experience, led by Chef Daniel Wilson from Yakimono, while supporting emerging talent in the hospitality industry.

For almost 30 years, the William Angliss Institute Great Chefs series has been the most successful program of its kind in Australia with one hundred and thirty-five Great Chefs supporting the program since 1994.

For Wilson, it's the seventh year to participate in the program since 2003. Asked what his motivation has been to continue to support the Great Chefs series, he said, "For me, a big part of being a chef is sharing the skills of the craft with the next generation. I have always been motivated to give what I can give back to the industry - which I am so passionate about.

"We have a responsibility to expose the apprentice chefs to different techniques and ideas, which is very important for their growth, and for the industry. That's exactly what this program facilitates."

Wilson's love of food from a young age has led to his extensive hospitality career in Melbourne. Starting out as a kitchen hand in his native New Zealand, he completed chef training at Grand Rapids in Michigan, before settling in Melbourne where he cut his teeth working for Andrew Blake and Jacques Reymond.

After having his own businesses Huxtable and Huxtaburger, he is currently Executive Chef at Chris Lucas's high energy Japanese eatery, Yakimono.

The Great Chefs who attend the event design their own menu to cook with the students, sharing their tips and techniques. Each course is then matched with wines suggested by the Institute's wine education teachers, in collaboration with the students.

"There has always been an excellent level of hunger and passion from the apprentices at William Angliss Institute. The professional cookery teachers are very skilled at nurturing the young chefs through their training to be industry ready," added Wilson.

Wilson's four course menu, cooked with the assistance of our Cookery students and led by Professional Cookery Teacher Natalie Puskaric, included:

  • Appetiser -  Tuna Tartare, Oba Leaf Tempura
  • Entreé - Kingfish sashimi, ume-zu, green kosho
    BBQ negi chicken skewer, chicken salt
    Wagyu intercoastal skewer, sweet soy glaze
  • Main - Sake salmon, burnt eggplant, asparagus
    black sesame green beans, smoked almond furirake
  • Dessert - Tokyo banana

As the students prepared during the day, Certificate III in Commercial Cookery – Apprenticeship student Emily Nguyen was very excited. 'I didn't think I would get the opportunity to participate in Great Chefs and I am really grateful for the chance."

The next day, Emily said that it was a fun working with Chef Daniel and Chef Ally adding that they were both very kind and patient. "They had great energy, which is very important to a busy service, as it calms everyone down and makes the service enjoyable," said Emily.

"The highlight of being part of the Great Chef series is purely the opportunity to work with wonderful chefs and doing something new and different, whether that be learning a new technique, working with ingredients that I have never handled before or just talking and working besides great industry professionals.

"The main take away for me was just to have fun. I was quite nervous going in as I didn't want to disappoint and was not very familiar with the recipes and techniques required. Once I got started and realised how humble and supportive Chef Daniel and Chef Ally are, my experience working with them became so much more exciting and collaborative, and the night transformed more into an opportunity about learning and cultivating myself as a chef," reflected Emily.

Great Chefs continues to foster communication, connections and networks between students, teachers and the hospitality industry. Headlining chefs have included Guy Grossi, Gary Mehigan and Angliss alumni Karen Martini and Shannon Bennett, just to name a few.

For guest chefs, it provides the opportunity to share wisdom and knowledge from their own experiences and achievements, while scouting the hottest emerging talent.

For students, it's a chance to showcase their talents and have their work ethic noticed. The program has been a launching pad for many apprenticeships at iconic restaurants, including alumni Buddha Lo who returned as a guest chef while working at Matteo's, before joining Eleven Maddison Park in Manhattan and achieving international celebrity chef status including becoming the first ever back-to-back champion to win Top Chef this year.

The learning experience extends beyond the kitchen with hospitality students also gaining experience running the front of house service including wine matching, mixing cocktails and fine dining customer service. Diploma of Event Management students are also often involved with the front-of-house experience including event styling, and on this occasion Hotel Management student Jacky Poo welcomed guests.

Find out more about Great Chefs and sign-up for our Restaurants Newsletter to be the first in to book for our exciting culinary events.

Published 25 October 2023