Apprenticeship served, Kate takes on the world

WHILE a typographical error by the catering institute refers to him as God Gorey, the defending chef of the year has been beaten by a young talent – a feat deemed by many in the industry as miraculous.

Twenty-two year old Kate Cooper has not only beaten last year’s Catering Institute’s Chef of the Year champ, Tod Gorey, but she’s won the title just three days out of her apprenticeship.

Tod, of the Curtin University Catering Guild, who won the title in 2000 and was runner up in ’98 and ’99, says Kate’s win is fantastic given her experience.

“In this sort of competition you need the experience of knowing what to do with what products. At that age you’re not looking at creating menus, rather you’re learning how to cook it,” he says.

Only on the morning of competition are the chefs made aware of the produce they will be cooking with.

“She looked the most nervous when we were given our products, but she obviously did great work with them,” Tod says.

Executive chef of the WA Turf Club, Adrian Tobin, hired Kate after watching her in the apprentice of the year competition in 1998 – when she was a first-year apprentice. And because of her talent and success, he has now put her in charge of the Flying Colours restaurant for this Ascot season.

“She’s going to be the boss. Now that she’s fully qualified and she’s won this award she’ll have more authority and confidence,” Adrian says.

Kate and Tod will compete again later this week in the Restaurant of Champions with their respective teams.

Kate began her apprenticeship at the Orient in Fremantle and is the only chef to win both the apprentice of the year and chef of the year titles in the same year.

And while she is enjoying enormous success, so too is the WA Turf Club, hving been nominated for a Gold Plate Award in the catering category.

Also winning catering institute awards were Alto’s Restaurant’s Shaun Maher, winner the Sommelier of the Year award, and the Hyatt’s Byron Wright, who won the Professional Waiter of the Year award.

Goundrey Wines will be at the Melbourne’s Louisiana Restaurant on August 23. The Mt Barker winery will present its Reserve Range and offer diners the Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay, which is currently only available at the cellar door.

If you want to believe it’s cooked fresh and not zapped in the microwave, head along to Joe’s Oriental Diner, at the Hyatt, where tables of four or more will have Joe’s famous steamboats cooked right before your very eyes. They’re hot, steamy and healthy, making for a different style of dining.

Support your cooks of the future. On August 20 the WA Apprentice Youth Team will cook up a three-course meal to astound the taste buds. Tickets are just $44 and includes beer, wine, and soft drink.

And as an appetiser to the Australian Culinary Foundation’s “The Event”, the three judges will cook for you in the Chefs Challenge. The food prepared will be near to perfection on August 17, with proceeds going to Lifeline. To purchase tickets for what’s sure to be one of the meals of the year, phone Karyn Mann on 9244 1088.

Friends is hosting a Burt Bacharach evening on August 23. Libby Hammer and Ali Bodycoat will provide the night’s entertainment. Grab your friends and enjoy great atmosphere and indulge in Friends’ fine food, accompanied with Blue Pyrenees Wines.

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