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Young chefs share entrepreneurial insights

William Angliss Institute hosted a Young Chefs Panel event welcoming Brienna Belfrage-Young (Koko Cottage), Oscar Bui (The Eatery), Quok (Andy) Nguyen (Mr.Bun Mi and Andy's Kitchen) and Paritta Sridamart (Palm Sugar Thai Cafe and Union Tree Thai). 

These young chefs shared their wealth of knowledge about the food industry, their different entrepreneurial journeys and also experience training at the Institute.

“Keeping close ties with industry and maintaining alumni connections are one of the most important things we do,” panel host and Associate Director Student Recruitment and Services Sarah Lawrie said. 

“We're committed to sharing these contacts with our current students to help them build their network, even before they complete their qualifications,” she said.

Here’s what the panel had to say:

How would you describe your time at Angliss?

Brienna: It took me by surprise how much I learned during my time there. The patisserie course kick-started my exploration with different tastes, textures and ways of presenting and how to balance flavours. It opened my eyes about how I can influence the industry, whether it's through the initiatives I started or by simply doing my best and hopefully inspiring people along the way.

Paritta: The teachers were very supportive, and I encourage students to make as many connections as you can, whether it's with your classmates, teachers or guest speakers. I did this during my time at Angliss, and now some of my classmates are my colleagues.

Andy: I enjoyed my time there. The teachers would always encourage me to follow my dreams. I took every available opportunity. I participated in many competitions, and I was also awarded the apprenticeship of the year when I was at Angliss. 

Oscar: During my time there, I chose to study full time and not do the apprenticeship program, so my classmates and I learned our kitchen skills in the classroom and also picked up additional work to gain more experience. It was a fast-tracked experience, but when you focus and have a solid learning group, you're able to pick up the skills quickly. This shows you're able to make a career change quite fast (in around one year) instead of stretching the learning to three to four years. 

For someone who is still studying, how can I get my foot in the door?

Brienna: When I was a student, I would often research entry-level positions and ask around because in this industry your network is very important. It will surpass even the most impressive resume. Take the opportunities that are available for you, and there are people at Angliss who would be overjoyed when you do, and they'll be ready to support you if you need it.

Have you always wanted to start your own business?

Oscar: Yes, and it only came down to how and when. I think having a passion for starting a business is a good start. However, being prepared to commit is one of the crucial factors for me. The joy of owning your own business will come when you put in the hard work.

Andy: Yes, and it takes a lot to run a successful business. I firmly believe when you have a goal or a dream, and you keep on thinking about it every day - you can do it. Enjoy what you do, and the opportunity will come when the time is right.

How did you transition from being an employee to an employer?

Brienna: My decision to transition came out of necessity due to the pandemic. I also met my business partner during this moment; she helps me with the administration side of the business. Even though I'm mainly in charge of the creative work, I learned that it's important for me to be willing to learn new skills including understanding how to do my taxes and creating a website.

Paritta: As a business owner, I have to be quite adaptable with my business, especially with the pandemic. I had to turn my restaurant to operate mainly as a catering and takeaway business. I always try to think about how I can promote my business.

To catch more of the Young Chefs Panel discussion, you can rewatch the event on myWAI today!


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