Springfield Lakes Local is TAFE Queensland Apprentice Chef of the Year Finalist

Photo credit: MARVIN TOLENTINO/Unsplash

Connor Johnson-James of Springfield Lakes continues to bring honour to his hometown, as one of the ten finalists in this year’s TAFE Queensland Apprentice Chef of the Year for 2018.

Connor Johnson-James, who is currently completing a Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery at Bella Cosi Modern Italian Restaurant at Chermside, took part in a Master Chef style competition for a chance to take this year’s top title.

“To know that I am competing against the best-of-the-best in my class has been both exhilarating and nerve-wracking,” Connor said.

Ten reasons to study at TAFE Queensland
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Connor Johnson-James was one of the ten who were selected from the more than 280 TAFE Queensland apprentice chefs to compete for this year’s top title. The top ten were selected from interviews and the cook-off took place on Monday 8 October at TAFE Queensland’s South Bank campus.

The finalists in this year’s cook-off should be proud of their achievements, said the Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman. “TAFE Queensland has shown to be the best when it comes to training our future master chefs,” she said.

“We know that by 2020 it’s projected that we will need an additional 20,000 skilled workers in the growing tourism and hospitality industry, so continuing this training is vital to growing our economy and filling the jobs of the future.

“Queensland’s tourism industry is evolving in leaps and bounds, and our highly skilled students will play an important role for many years to come,” she said.

Applicants were required to design a five-item canape menu and address several criteria in a written application. On the day of the competition, the finalists, using a mystery box of ingredients, were required to prepare one of their five menu item canapes as well as an entrée and main meal.

Emma Arkinstall, a 23-year-old from Beaudesert, was named the TAFE Queensland Apprentice Chef of the Year on 22 October at 66 on Ernest at TAFE Queensland’s South Bank campus. Her seafood canape creation featuring scallops, finger limes and vodka and the focus on sustainable eating and cooking, won for her the award.

Connor Johnson-James is not new to such a competition. He was also a finalist at the ACOTY 2017 and have won a number of industry awards, including the 2017 Hospitality and Catering Award – Excellence Apprentice Chef of the Year.