It was with much excitement that I received the news of the 2012 Young Culinary Achiever Scholarship. Fuji Taukatelata was the winner of this prestigious scholarship that recognises young culinary students with a commitment and passion to excel in the hospitality industry.
The hospitality industry is a tough business to be in, especially for the younger generation trying to make a break. Opportunities such as this Young Culinary Achiever Scholarship, established by HTN and Aqua Dining Group principal Bill Drakopoulos — are invaluable for the future of our industry and we are indebted to those who invest their time and energy in these programs.
Judges Lyndey Milan, Simon Thomsen and Kurt Van Buren were unanimous in their decision to award Fuji the coveted prize of work experience in London with renowned Australian chef Brett Graham at his 2 star Michelin restaurant Ledbury, $1,000 spending money, airfares and accommodation.
“Fuji’s dish showed a variety of skills – a lot of dexterity to bone her Quail Galantine dish and managing to keep the quail moist, as well as a well developed philosophy of what food is all about” said Lyndey Milan.
The Awards were held at a sumptuous dinner at Aqua Dining with the popular broadcaster Jonathan Coleman as MC, to a packed house of sponsors, families, friends and chefs with whom the contestants work. The two runners up were Kyiah Jones from Garfish in Manly, and Tommy Ly from the CBD’s Ash Cellars. The trio each created starter dishes in a 5 course degustation dinner.
Fuji works at Campbelltown Golf Club and studied at TAFE Ultimo. Her achievements include Taste of Success Graduate/Scholarship winner 2012. She is the present Ambassador of HTN, and the Face of Ultimo TAFE.
“I owe my Mum a lot” said Fuji .This fabulous prize will benefit me and also my family, employers past and present who have shaped me into the chef I am today. Work experience with Brett Thomas will help me further develop my skills in this fast paced, spontaneous and rewarding industry.”
Maureen de Groot