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December 2010 Issue 2

News Features Competitions Recipes Experiences and more‌



06 20 34 40 48

Westin Hotel Sydney Nor’ East and The Brewery, Newcastle

Embers, Richmond HTN Youth Skills Showcase Berowra Waters Inn



Win a JB Hi-Fi voucher with the caption competition




Coffee and Chocolate Truffles


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Fancy some free advertising? Hunter Institute new renovations Royal Australian Navy’s Silver Platter comp Fraser and Hughes – ethical clothing Don’t Panic – Its Organic!

09 11 24 29 30 47 56 62

Hennessy Coffee Fraser and Hughes

MLA MAS National Futura Sandhurst Krio Krush Masterfoods

“HTN: Workforce Solutions for the Hospitality and Food Related Industries” The “skills shortages” associated with our industry are widely publicized and will now doubt be further exacerbated by the recent changes to the Skills Occupation List (SOL) and subsequent down turn in the International Student market in Australia. As we all know, a significant amount of labour in many restaurants, hotels and other establishments was comprised of International Students studying hospitality qualifications in our major cities and as a consequence it is anticipated that these changes will create increased demand for Hospitality Apprentices. It will certainly be an interesting landscape in twelve months time. HTN has long been committed to driving workforce development solutions in the hospitality and food related industries and as such I am delighted to advise that HTN is now positioned to offer a “recruitment” service focusing on recently qualified chefs/commis chefs. This cost competitive service has been created in an endeavour to assist and serve our Host Trainer clients as well as to support our graduating apprentices into the next stage of their career. If you would like to know more about this service please contact the Team at HTN on toll free 1300 139 108 or by emailing your enquiry to

HTN’s 4th Year Apprentice Chef Garreth Robbs was named “Runner Up” Australian Apprentice of the Year at the National Training Awards at a gala event held in late November and attended by some 900 guests. This achievement caps off an extraordinary apprenticeship for Garreth and is deserved recognition for his commitment and passion for his trade. My congratulations again to TAFE NSW Hunter Institute, Cessnock Campus for training such a capable apprentice. HTN is extremely fortunate to have the support of many stakeholders including our valued Host Trainers and Apprentices, sponsors, various TAFE Institutes and our industry associations. As such, I would like to take this opportunity to extend sincere thanks to all for supporting HTN throughout our year of growth and we look forward to being of service to you in 2011. Best wishes

Michael Bennett Chief Executive Officer


The Westin Hotel Sydney in its heritage setting. Photo courtesy Westin Hotel.


An interview with Westin Hotel Sydney’s Executive Chef Walter Keller



“Can you tell me about the hotel?” “The Westin Hotel Sydney is part of the Starwood Group which has more than a thousand hotels worldwide across various brands, but there are only two Westin’s in Australia. One here and another in Melbourne. This hotel opened about ten years ago and we have established ourselves as one of the leading hotels in the city and the country. Many awards have been won by us over the years and we are doing really good work. The hotel has 400 or so rooms and a large ballroom which is the place for functions in the city. We have Mosaic restaurant which is a walk in restaurant as well as hotel guest room and we have some regulars, especially for dinner and brunch on Sundays, and the lobby bar with food too.”


“All run from this main kitchen?”

“No, this is the banquet main kitchen and production so down here we have the hot side, the cold larder and the pastry. The pastry area supplies pastries and chocolates for the whole hotel including room amenities, the executive club, functions etc.

Executive Chef Walter Keller with HTN 3rd Year Apprentice Min Soek Kim in the Westin Sydney’s iconic glass ceilinged lobby.


“How large do the functions get?” “If the ballroom is completely full it can take 900 or without a stage it can squeeze a thousand. We have big events, 800 people is very common.” “What are the main challenges is running this kind of operation?” “The main challenges is labour. You don’t have a big function every day so there are real ups and downs with work needs. Annual leave can be worked in with the staffing needs but we have moved away from all full time, as we used to be, to a mix of full, part time and casual. “


“Once you answer those questions and decide you really want to be a chef then the only thing stopping you is yourself. “

“And how about yourself – how did you end up here?” “I have been a chef for forty years and did my apprenticeship, and my first years as a chef back in Switzerland. I then went to England, then to the far east as a chef garde mange. Singapore, South Korea, Egypt, back to Singapore for thirteen years and then this opportunity came up in Sydney at the same time as the Olympics. So the Olympics in Sydney, the Westin opening up and they needed someone with large scale experience. In Singapore we were catering for 2000 rooms and functions for 5000 so I had that experience and in 1999 came across and I am still here.”


“Have any of those experiences from different cultures and destinations influenced you back here in Australia?” “Absolutely. The great thing about Australia is it is multicultural. If you go outside, you can find every kind of restaurant imaginable. Singapore and Korea is the same, the first items on the menu are local but in any hotel there are multi-cultural choices. When I was in Korea in 1976 it was very closed and difficult to get anything. Everything had to be imported, from meat to parsley, you name it, we had to get it form overseas. A kilo of parsley cost a hundred dollars or something because it was hard to get. We had to do our own sausages, goose liver pate, smoking of fish – everything. Of course that’s the way you develop and grow and the need to be flexible and improvise was a great education.”


“You employ two HTN apprentices here, what advice do you give them on day one?” “Working in a five star hotel is a great opportunity. The quality and the size of the operation means as an apprentice you just learn more. You are exposed to so many different types of events. An apprentice has to be hungry and focused, ask themselves what they want out of life and the industry. Is this my life? Am I happy? Once you answer those questions and decide you really want to be a chef then the only thing stopping you is yourself. The world is open to someone wanting to be a chef, its a great profession.”




Reducing Labour Costs and the Restaurant Industry General Award 2010 In recent months Services Industry Legal Services has been advising some leading Sydney restaurants on how the wage and penalty rate regime in the Restaurant Industry General Award 2010 (‘Modern Award’) presents lawful, legitimate opportunities to reduce labour costs. In its Award Modernisation decision in December 2008, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (now Fair Work Australia) decided that, as a general rule, the calculation of penalty rates for casual employees was to change under modern awards (i.e. overtime, weekend work, and work on a public holiday)— compared to the previously applicable calculation method. Together with the scheduled decreases in the casual loading each 1 July for the next four years (from 29% to 25%), a new labour costs relationship exists between causal and permanent employees. Service Industry Legal Services can explain how strategies can be implemented in the workplace to get the benefit of potential labour costs savings. Service Industry Legal Services can provide you with a written, detailed explanation of how the Modern Award rates were calculated, and where they are going.

Please call Dru Gillan directly on 0423 357 227.



Caption Competition Take a look at this photo taken during “the world’s largest food fight” held each year in Spain. The Tomatina is a tradition going back to the 1940’s and is held every August. Come up with a caption for the photo and a $50 JB Hi-fi card could be yours. The winner will be announced in the next e-zine. Email your suggested caption through to Easy!


• Heat the cream and crushed coffee beans in a pot to boiling point to infuse. • Cover the pot with cling film and allow to stand for 15 minutes. • Remove the cling film and reboil the cream. • Strain hot cream mixture over the 550g dark chocolate and stir gently to melt the chocolate and emulsify, taking care not to "over stir" and split the mixture. • wait until mixture cools down to 35 degrees Celsius and stir in the room temperature soft butter. • Cover with cling film and allow mixture to firm up for at least 2 hours, or even better overnight out of the fridge. Chocolate and Coffee truffles 550g dark chocolate 375ml cream 125g room temperature soft butter 20 crushed coffee beans melted dark chocolate (as needed) cocoa powder (as needed)

• When firm using a spoon, scoop small amounts of mixture out and roll into small balls.

• Dip chocolate balls into melted dark chocolate and then immediately roll into cocoa powder before the chocolate sets up. • Serve "as is" or with coffee....



Nontas Lingonis is an ex-HTN apprentice and now head pastry chef at Aqua Dining. Each issue he shares his recipes with us and will be hosting some HTN Master Classes in the New Year.


Free advertising for HTN hosts HTN are always looking for ways to add value to our loyal hosts’ business. Now that our e-zine is up and running and gaining a growing readership, we have the vehicle to offer you some valuable exposure.

From the next issue, any current HTN host will be able to submit a small advert, linked to your own website, for free inclusion in our magazine. (See below an example)

Sam’s French Restaurant 131 Pretend Street Fairyville, NSW 1234 02 3456 7890

Free bottle of wine with a dinner for two purchased on Monday – Thursday. All you need to do is email me the details and a photo. I will put the ad together, put it in the magazine and publish it! Easy (and free)!

Of course you can take out larger ads – and any current host gets a 25% discount on advertising. Our September issue on HTN Quarterly online had over 8,500 unique page views – not bad for a first issue! Its not often you get something for free so take advantage of it. For some other free publicity, get your apprentice to submit a recipe with a photo and, if selected will appear both on our website and in the magazine with a link to your business.

Submit your advert, or any other content or comments to:


Add Asian Cookery to your qualifications. Do you wish you could whip up a yum cha or a regional Chinese feast good enough to impress Australia’s most experienced chefs? TAFE NSW – Northern Sydney Institute (NSI) provides a range of unique courses in Asian cuisine that will ensure you will be one of the best in your field. Currently, NSI is the only TAFE NSW institute offering the Certificate III in Hospitality (Asian Cookery). Students can study the Certificate III in Hospitality (Asian Cookery) in addition to the Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery) and receive a dual qualification. Students completing the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery also receive training at NSI’s Fusion Training Restaurant -– a real restaurant setting that enables students to gain valuable industry experience. Manager of Teaching and Learning at NSI’s Crows Nest College said the dual qualification was the perfect option for chefs looking to expand their skills or those looking to enter Australia’s growing fusion restaurant market. “The fusion style of cuisine is very popular in Sydney and this course gives students transferable skills they can utilise working in both contemporary restaurants.” “The great thing about this particular course is not only is it unique in NSW, it allows those who have already completed western cookery to can gain recognition for their studies. By completing a few extra subjects, in only one extra year students can achieve an additional qualification.”If you looking for short courses in Asian cuisine, NSI also offer short, intense courses covering Yum Cha, Thai, Korean and regional Chinese cuisine.

For more information on how NSI can help develop your culinary career, contact 131 674 or visit


20 150 Wharf Road, Newcastle

Featured Host

Nor’East Restaurant If you’ve been to Newcastle chances are you’ve visited the Queens Wharf Brewery. The hotel’s iconic location overlooking Newcastle harbour has made it a popular destination for both tourists and locals as a place to relax, drink and dine. The Queens Wharf Brewery offers two distinct dining options, the pub style Brewery Bites and relaxed, gourmet dining at the multi-award winning Nor’East Restaurant.

To work with Robert and his highly skilled team was a highlight of his career and further ignited Tony’s passion for great food and cooking which he now eagerly shares with young apprentice chefs in Nor’East and Brewery Bites. Apprentices in both kitchens are personally and skilfully guided by Tony through their training to ensure they maintain high standards and expectations when creating outstanding food.

Taking the lead in both kitchens is Head Chef Tony Harrison. Tony’s love affair with food began at a very young age. As a child, Tony spent many afternoons cooking with his Pop (Colin Harrison) who exposed the young Tony to his passion and self-taught culinary expertise with traditional English style food.

In their training apprentices are exposed to a variety of challenges including butchery, extensive seafood preparation and in-house small goods and patisserie making skills. Utilising his passion for European cuisine, and in particular French influences, Tony also exposes his apprentices to varying service styles including al a carte and degustation.

In 2003 Tony’s career path moved up to Pokolbin finishing off his apprenticeship under Robert Molines and eventually moving in to the Sous Chef position at Robert’s restaurant.

The aim for both Nor’East and Brewery Bites as a training ground for apprentices is to nurture young chefs who embrace and maintain a love and passion for food throughout their career.

In their training apprentices are exposed to a variety of challenges including butchery, extensive seafood preparation and in-house small goods and patisserie making skills. Utilising his passion for European cuisine, and in particular French influences, Tony also exposes his apprentices to varying service styles including al a carte and degustation. The aim for both Nor’East and Brewery Bites as a training ground for apprentices is to nurture young chefs who embrace and maintain a love and passion for food throughout their career.

Quick Questions – Head Chef Tony Harrison


Who would you like to share a table with in your restaurant and why? I would like to share a table with Shannon Benette from Vue de Monde. He is an intriguing character and I have an immense respect for his food and vision as well as his skills as a successful restaurateur.


Can you give a new apprentice a piece of advice for his / her career? My advice would be to treat your workplace as if you own it and you will get the best out of yourself. All the effort kids put into their apprenticeships shows when they qualify.



(Excerpts from Red Meat Green Facts) Myth: It takes 50,000 litres of water to produce a kilogram of beef Very high figures such as 50,000 litres to produce a kilogram of beef arise from ‘virtual water figures’. Virtual water figures attribute every drop of rain that falls on a farm to the production of red meat and ignore that most of the water ends up in waterways such as dams and rivers, to grow trees and plants and in pastures not grazed by cattle. Virtual water figures were developed to calculate all embedded water in a product and were not intended for environmental measurements. A more appropriate figure is from a life cycle assessment that calculates the amount of water that is used to produce a kilogram of beef. A 2009 life cycle assessment carried out by the University of New South Wales for three beef production systems in southern Australia found that it takes between 27–540 litres of water to produce a kilogram of beef.1


Myth: Livestock produce more emissions than the entire energy sector This is a commonly quoted figure that originated from the 2006United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) report, Livestock’s Long Shadow

A 2010 review of this report by scientists from the University of California Davis found that the FAO paper used two different methodologies to calculate greenhouse gas emissions which resulted in an unfair comparison. Following this paper one of the authors of the FAO report, livestock policy officer Pierre Gerber, told BBC News he accepted the criticism.“I must say honestly that he [Professor Mitloehner, UC Davis] has a point; we factored in everything for meat emissions, and we didn’t do the same thing with transport”. In Australia, energy generation represents 37 per cent of Australia’s emissions, compared to 10 per cent for livestock.2 Myth: Cattle are solely responsible for methane emissions While the livestock industry makes a significant contribution to methane emissions, it is important to note that atmospheric methane concentrations have remained relatively stable since 2000, despite significant increases in livestock numbers globally. This emphasises that livestock emissions are only one contributor to methane levels in the last decade. Other contributors are wetlands, termites, fossil fuel use, landfill and industrial processes.3 Livestock farming also helps to absorb carbon emissions through sequestration – the ability of plants, shrubs, grass and soil to store carbon. A worldwide analysis on the effects of land management on soil carbon showed that comparing forests and wellmanaged pastures shows there is, on average about 8 per cent more soil carbon under well-managed pasture than under native forests.

Myth: Replacing red meat in the diet would be beneficial for people’s health and the environment Red meat delivers nutrients essential for health and wellbeing including: protein, iron, zinc, B vitamins and long chain omega-3s. All foods have an environmental impact of some kind and focus should be placed on ensuring that Australia can produce food for a growing population, with minimal environmental impact. By grazing arid and semi-arid lands, the livestock industry is able to produce food on land that is unusable for providing any other food source. It has been estimated that to substitute the level of protein provided by red meat production in Australia with a vegetarian diet, would mean finding an area the size of Victoria and Tasmania combined to add to the land currently used for plant-based food production. Australian soils are frequently unable to sustain cropping on a continuous basis and rotation with livestock provides an essential environmental break to renew soil productivity as well as an income for farmers throughout the year.4 1 Soil carbon stocks and land use change: a meta analysis, 2002, Guo, L. B and Gifford, R. M., Global Change Biology, Volume 8, Number 4, April 2002 , pp. 345360(16). 2 Department of Climate Change (DCC). Australian National Greenhouse Accounts: National Greenhouse Gas Inventory accounting for the KYOTO target May 2010. Department of Climate Change, Canberra, Australia. (2010). CSIRO. Key greenhouse and ozone depleting gases Research. (April 2010) 3 CSIRO (2010). ECOS 154 pp20-21 Apr-May 2010. 4 Peters G, Wiedemann S, Rowley H and Tucker R. “Accounting for water use in Australian red meat production”. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. 15 (2010): 311-320



Floor to ceiling observation windows with large plasma TV screens outside each kitchen, above many stations in the kitchens and cameras in the ceiling. The large screens at the front of the kitchens can show any camera view across multiple kitchens, the teacher’s station, a students station or a recipe or slide.

Imagine a master class where students in three kitchens and observers from other areas around the college can see exactly what the chef is doing – up close.


Tell me about the renovations?


What have these new facilities meant for the students?

Its been almost twenty five years since the building has been established and the kitchens were built and this year we got the funding to renovate the ground floor. What we have done is convert two kitchen and a cafeteria into three kitchens and a cafeteria so we have gained a kitchen. So more that just updating them, we have looked at the whole design of them and been able to make much better use of the space and been able to fit more into the same area. We now have updated equipment – the latest equipment available, latest technology in camera so we can capture and store, display, playback or stream into other screens. So if we had a guest chef in one kitchen we could stream that in other areas too. So Certificate III all the way through to Advanced diploma get to use it.

An opportunity to see the latest technology in action. Be able to touch it, be instructed in it and understand it better. Some of this equipment, some of the apprentices get to use in the workplace, but others never see it. Some of the students wouldn’t have seen some of this technology in industry. To demonstrate for example a thermomix and show turning sugar to castor sugar to sorbet in a couple of minutes is great.



Such great technology – do you just use it amongst the Hunter Institutes or do you sell it out? We sometimes get celebrity or guest chefs for our winemakers lunch and we use that to raise funds for the Brett Graham scholarship. These happen every semester and our third years get to work with local chefs or occasionally a Sydney chef come s up and does things with us. Of course Brett Graham is our biggest success story. He trained here at the Hunter Institute, apprenticed at Scrathlies, went overseas and ended up at the Ledbury with two Michelin Stars so far.

What has it meant for the teachers? Its been a long time coming. We have been using equipment that has started to get tired and old and so now it a chance for the teachers to see this new technology and show what they can do with it.




Little Chef Rod in freak accident! While preparing for a cooking demonstration as part of the “Liverpool Bites” show, Little Chef Rod fell and sustained a nasty neck injury. Medical staff were on scene very quickly and he was taken to Liverpool Accident and Emergency where his condition was listed as serious. Little Chef Rod isn’t back at work as yet but is recovering well at home. We wish Little Chef Rod all the best and look forward to his speedy recovery. Follow Little Chef Rod on Twitter and Facebook:

Royal Australian Navy invite HTN to judge Silver Platter


November saw the final three ships in the running for the 2010 Silver Platter competition, in Sydney ready to be judged. And HTN were invited onboard to help. Rod Andrews and Jonathan Sharp were invited to watch, and experience a full lunch preparation and service, for ship’s company onboard HMAS Kanimbla, HMAS Parramatta and HMAS Darwin, all at various stages of readiness from active tours. The competition judges all aspects of the galley, staff, stores and service by the Royal Australian Navy and HTN were asked to judge from an industry standard. We were blown away with the standard and organisation onboard and service both in the cafe (crew mess) and the officer’s ward room. We hope that this paves the way for future partnership opportunities and even a Navy vs civilian competition. Watch this space.


Just Chefs International represent some of London’s most prestigious restaurants and hotels who are looking for professional chef to work in their kitchens. Our clientele ranges from Michelin star restaurants to fine dining restaurants, 5 star hotels to boutique hotels and gastro pubs to gastronomic brasseries. We formed the Australian branch of the company after recognizing from our own personal experiences as chefs the need for a program to help the large number of Australian chefs making the move to the UK. Our aim is to not just find you a job but find a job that best suits your goals and ambitions while providing you with honest and realistic advice from our Australian consultants who have all made the move from Australia to London to work in high standard professional kitchens. We know the difficulties faced by not only having to find a job, but also in settling in a new country.

With this in mind we have designed our service not only to be about an initial job placement but a total package to make the transition to life in London as smooth as possible. Help with Visas, bank accounts, living arrangements and salary expectations are all covered before you leave and with over 10 years of experience in finding Chefs the right position in London, we know the best companies to work for you to obtain the knowledge you are seeking from your trip. We average about 4 trials per candidate in their first week in London and aim to have you stared in a position within 1 to 2 weeks from the date that you wish to start looking. If you are seriously considering a move to the UK or are just entertaining the idea Just Chefs International offers a commitment and fee free service to help you achieve your goals.

“I met Michael and Carl at the 2009 Sydney Restaurant show where we briefly discussed me moving to the UK. I mentioned I was thinking of moving at the end of my apprenticeship later that year and gave them my details. I was contacted by Michael in the following weeks where he asked about my plans in more detail and shared his experiences in making the same trip. I was helped with the correct visas and setting up a bank account before I left and had a interview set up for me with Carl at the London offices for when I arrived. Carl was very helpful in explaining the whole process and what to expect in working in some of London’s leading establishments. Four trials were arranged for me but I loved the first one I saw so decided to take it and was working within 24 hours.” Scott, Brisbane

Where are they now? Nicole Wheeler Owner – Embers Wood Fired Pizza Richmond

Photo Courtesy of ArtWurx – publishers of the Hawksbury Guide (




“How did Embers come about?” “I grew up out here [Richmond] and after I finished my apprenticeship in Sydney I moved back home with my son who is ten now. I worked for other people then four years ago came across Embers which was up for sale. I saw it as a great opportunity to do something myself. So since then we have won numerous small business awards and in 2009 were named “Small Business of the Year” for the whole of the Hawksbury. “


“And what makes Embers special?”

“Everything we do here is from scratch and we take great pride in that. Everything is cooked in our wood fired oven and in fact we don’t have a lot more of the expensive equipment – its amazing what we can put out of that oven.” “You advertise as “Wood Fired and Gourmet Pizza” - define a “gourmet pizza?” Its something a bit different and the quality, its a bit of everything. We make our own pestos and dressings so everything is from right here.


“How many staff do you have here?” “At this point we have about six staff. We have our head chef (Steve Kellner) who works six days a week and who has been here from the start four years ago. We also have a HTN first year apprentice (Cailla Hall) who has just joined us and is great. Cailla has worked in some other places and is a local girl too so its a great opportunity for her.”

“A lot of effort and a lot of love goes into what we do here...”


“Tell me about your time as a HTN Apprentice?” “Generally I worked in fine dining establishments in Sydney, Mezzaluna in Potts Point, Level 41, Bathers Pavilion, The Boathouse at Blackwattle Bay, so from fine dining to a pizza place is something I fell into. A lot of effort and a lot of love goes into what we do here and there is far more going on that people realise.”


“What is next in the plans?” “I think its achievable to push Embers up to the next level and get recognised in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide and also I have thoughts of opening up another Embers in the same area but a few suburbs out. I don’t want to turn it into a chain or franchise anything like that but another Embers would be good.”


“There are a few types of toppings I haven’t seen elsewhere...” “Yes, Tandoori Chicken is a popular one and we have a beautiful roast pumpkin with feta, garlic & pine nuts so the toppings are unique.” “So both you and Steve come up with the ideas?” “Yes, we both come up with something to try, not just pizza toppings. We have just expanded the menu and we have put on a beautiful rib eye steak cooked in the woodfired oven so that is popular. “What’s the competition”

“There are three or four other pizza places in the area but we are completely different. We are top of the range and go for that market and this is a small town, so there is no threat. We are well established and lots of loyalty. Our customers are unreal.” “Do you have a piece of advice for a brand new apprentice to the industry?” “You have to really enjoy what you do and have a real love for it. Cooking is something you really have to have a passion for. “


The HTN Youth Skills Showcase 2010 What a night! It had been five years since the last HTN Youth Skills Showcase and we wanted to re-start the tradition in a small but impressive way. So we limited the numbers, but not the talent!

The apprentice chefs, under the guidance of executive chef and 4th year apprentice Bianca Palmer, produced a fantastic menu. The Australian Children’s Music Foundation, represented by Michaela Baranov and Paula Lui wowed the guests and John Blackman provided the laughs! While the showcase is a celebration of youth talent, it also gives HTN a chance to say a thank you to our sponsors and supporters through the year. The highlight of the event was the announcement of the 2010 Peter Howard Culinary Scholarship which provides a HTN apprentice with airline tickets to London, $5000 in spending money and help in designing an itinerary to make the most of an overseas culinary adventure.

Features The winner for 2010 was a shocked Bianca Palmer, who, with her family in the audience, outlined her plans for the UK trip with a little help from a prerecorded interview with 2009 winner James Fairbanks, who offered some advice for Bianca. A big thank you goes to Bill Galvin OAM – CEO of Tourism Training Australia – who kindly provided the flight for Bianca. We look forward to talking to Bianca on her return.



Third Year HTN Apprentice Zen Ong

Featured Host


Berowra Waters Inn

Chef de Cuisine Rainer Korobacz with Apprentice Zen Ong

An interview with….. Rainer Korobacz – Chef de Cuisine


“Tell me about the place.” “The place has been here since the beginning of the last century and was a general store then a guest house and in the 1960’s became a restaurant which had

had its heyday in the 70’s when Gay Bilson ran it. It became a bit run down and then Dietmar [Sawyere] took it over about three years ago and he brought it back up to being one of the premier restaurants in the country. It was actually the first restaurant Dietmar ate at in Australia. He came up here for lunch and thought ‘wow this place is amazing, I would really like to have it one day’ and as fate would have it, it eventually turned out that way.”





“Whats the style of the menu?” “Its Dietmar’s menu but after working with him for that long I understand him and how he works, so the menu is very much produce driven. Our menu changes pretty much every week and there are always small changes, but the menu is a “create-your-own” degustation menu so everything is served in small portions and it’s a minimum of five courses with matching wines so basically what it does is lets people create their own menu from the eight choices plus cheese and desert which is quite a unique idea.” “The place is obviously remote. Does that cause issues?” “You have got to get here by boat or seaplane, but its only 45 minutes from Sydney CBD so its not as remote as it seems. We have our own boat which we pick guests up from the jetty and from our point of view its just that everything comes and goes out by boat so all the produce and things from gas to rubbish and laundry at the end of the day. It sounds like a logistical nightmare but its just how the place operates. It has its moments, there is no corner store we can go to if we run out of milk so we have to be very organised. Most of our deliveries actually get dropped off at Ad Lib [in Pyrmont] and we send our van to go and collect it every morning but we do get a seafood delivery that comes up and some water and bits and pieces.”

“Who is the main clientele?” “We get a real mix, its obviously a special place so we get couples and special occasions but we get a lot of people who ate here twenty years ago and come back. Lunch is the big service rather than the normal Friday and Saturday night rush. With the view we have its nice to sit here during the day and enjoy it. We don’t do any second sittings, once people are here they tend to stay for a while except when the seaplanes get here – we have a three hour turnaround on those and we are pushing to get them through in that time.” “So can people stay up here?”

“We had a guest house down the river but it was sold so we are building a guesthouse and are looking at opening it in February or March. The majority of the staff that work here stay, we have staff accommodation . Its lovely up here so why would you go home?” “Do you have a piece of advice for a new apprentice?” “For someone who wants to take it seriously and work in a restaurant at this level you have got to be committed to it. It’s a lot of hard work and can be a lot of hours so you need to be passionate about it, you need to take pride in where you are working. Its not just a clock on clock off job.”

An interview with….. Zen Ong – 3rd Year Apprentice


“How long have you been here and what are you looking to learn from here?”

“I have been here about two months and as I am the only apprentice here I am hoping that a lot of the experience in the kitchen will rub off on me. The

expectations are a lot higher than any kitchen I have worked in before and I really needed that push to start refining my skills. I think I have a good understanding on the basics but its good to push myself harder to develop those skills further. At Aqua Dining I worked in all of the sections, meat, fish, pastry etc so really got those basic experiences. I can apply for early completion at the beginning of next year but being here and wanting to enter more competitions there is not much benefit for me so I might just work out my full apprenticeship.


Congratulations on the second place in the HTN and MARS Apprentice Competition. How did you find the competition? Good. I have been in a few before. In my second year I tried out for the HTN comp and missed out on a finals place and just before that I did World Skills and got through to regionals but came second in that and entered the Merivale comp too. What did you learn from the competitions? Get what you know right. When you right your menu, don’t try to put too much on there or over complicate it. Get the basics perfect and don’t confuse the dish. If you don’t know your flavours and seasoning, ask someone who does, the judges do help.


Have you got some advice for a new apprentice just coming into the industry? Ask questions. Never be afraid to ask questions otherwise you are not going to learn. The people in the kitchen have their job to do and don’t know how much you are willing to learn unless they hear you asking questions and show you care about it. Also if you want o be a chef and especially in fine dining you have to commit and understand the work you are going to need to put into it. If you want to social hours then that’s a choice and you can go learn in a catering operation or a café but to get to this level you have to expect the hard work and hours.

What are your plans after you finish? My immediate plans are to stay here as long as possible, I love the place and the direction the place is taking and the aim, the restaurant is listed as the Gourmet Traveler eleventh best in Australia and the aim is to get to top five.

“Never be afraid to ask questions otherwise you are not going to learn”

Berowra Waters Inn Via East or West Public Wharves Berowra Waters NSW 2082 Australia T 61 2 9456 1027 F 61 2 9456 2027 E W


Berowra Waters Inn now (inset) and then; The Pacific Private Guest House

1. In front of the terrace: Looking towards the marina. 2 . In 1930 (the depression) this would have been a VERY VERY expensive boat. It looks 60' ish - ie big by todays standards. Must have been like a superyacht back then. 1 3 . Enterprise 1930 (The boat that used to ferry people down from Brooklyn to BWI/Riverview). It got stuck and wrecked in the trees at Crosslands in the floods in 1941.

Photography was an expensive hobby back then. It seems one of the people in the photo's may have been a professional photographer paid for by the Inn/Pacific. (below) 2




Fraser and Hughes - The Cooks Shop is proud to announce that we have become an Ethical Clothing Australia Manufacturer Australia’s first and only ethically made chef uniform Fraser and Hughes is now an accredited Ethical Clothing Australia manufacturer. This means that not only are our products Australian Made, but everyone involved in its production received the legal and fair rates of pay and conditions. Our products are not made in sweat shops, they are not made in substandard conditions and they do not support exploitation of workers. When you purchase our F&H branded products you are supporting the fair and just treatment of workers, supporting Australian families and supporting regulated production methods. Proudly Australian and Ethically Made and Owned For more information please see:



Congratulations ….

Tweed Heads Bowls Club Winner of the “2010 Table Setup and Dining Room Service Award” at the Clubs Australia National Chef’s Table 2010 “Congratulations”

Congratulations To all the apprentices who were invited to the 2010 HTN Youth Skills Showcase.

Gareth Robbs 4th Year Apprentice – Bistro Molines Runner up “Apprentice of the Year” at the Australian Training Awards. “Huge achievement – well done” Antonio Serbati 3rd Year Apprentice CBD Hotel “1st Prize at the Australian Culinary Federation Comp at Ultimo TAFE”

Adi James 3rd Year Apprentice Sydney Convention Centre “3rd Prize at the Australian Culinary Federation Comp at Ultimo TAFE”

To send your congratulations or comments through click here.


“Don’t Panic – Its Organic” Recently , commercial cookery students from South Western Sydney Institute TAFE – Campbelltown College took part in an event which was part butchery master class, part dinner service and part organic product learning. A joint initiative by HTN and West Leagues Club, and with generous support by Greengrove Organic, Topcut, Fraser and Hughes, Hennessy Coffee and MacArthur Fruits, the event exposed the six HTN apprentice chefs to organic produce and allowed them to plan their own menu for an industry dinner.

On day one of the event, the apprentice chefs were given a number of organic lamb and HTN Master Butcher Col Reynolds demonstrated how to break down the produce into the various cuts. The lesson then switched to how to use the parts of the lamb and split the apprentices into pairs. Each pair was then responsible for planning a part of the meal to come, designing the plate and showing their workflow.

Vanessa Barnes (Topcut) gave a talk about how the lamb was produced and the menu planning was overseen by West Leagues Club head chef Sam Young. The five course meal was a hit with commentary as the courses were served and affogatos, courtesy of Hennessy Coffee, to finish with.



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HTN Online - Issue 2  

HTN's online e-zine showcasing HTN Apprentices, Trainees and our hosts

HTN Online - Issue 2  

HTN's online e-zine showcasing HTN Apprentices, Trainees and our hosts