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Three Apprentice Chefs are sharpening their knives, researching their produce and perfecting their recipes in the lead-up to the Grand Final of the ETC Apprentice of the Year Cook-off competition to be held at Coffs Central on Thursday 11 July. The event will be held from 11am – 1pm outside Kmart at the top of Coffs Central Shopping Centre. Find out more about the event 

Among the finalists are Coffs Harbour local, Nicholas Delves. The second year Apprentice with The Hilltop Store at Sawtell won the Coffs Coast regional final back in March with his mouth watering dish – Roasted King Prawns with Desert Oak Butter and Sea Succulents.

Hi Nick, tell us a bit about yourself

“I’m really enjoying my Apprenticeship so far and am really happy at the Hilltop Store. I’m learning a lot and it’s opening up a few doors for me. It definitely feels like the right industry for me to be working in.

The creativity of it is really cool – there is unlimited things you can do with food. Plus people’s appreciation of it. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows in there, but those few people who say thanks for the meal make it all worthwhile.”

How did it feel to win the regional cook-off competition back in March?

“Honestly, it was a bit of relief, because we did a lot of research, went out to a few different farms to look and I found different products, veggies, fruits, native berries etc. I did a lot of preparation in my personal time. It’s good that it paid off in the end. My nerves were crazy, but once it was done, it was great.

I’ve never participated in competitions and stuff like this before. Now that I’ve done it, I feel like I have grown a bit from the experience. Competing is fun and I did learn a lot meeting the other Apprentices as well. 

People saw it in the newspaper and have come into the shop here to congratulate me – that was pretty cool.”

What are your thoughts about the upcoming Grand Final?

“I think it will be a lot of fun. If I win, that’s great, but if not, at least I tried my best.” 

What’s your experience been like with ETC and the Yes Chef program?

“Ben, my trainer is really good and we get along well. He’s done it all before so he is really knowledgeable. I feel that when you’re in a class, the teacher has to train a large group of people, but when its one on one like this – you can ask more questions, and its more personable.

The ETC workshops were really good as well – especially learning about how to cut and cook different types of meat. They went into a lot of detail and I’m really happy us Apprentices get that opportunity.” 

What’s your advice for job seekers who may be considering a Chef Apprenticeship?

“Just give it a go. You’ll learn pretty quickly whether it’s for you or not. If it is – that’s great, you’ll have a lot of fun.” 

Thanks Nick and good luck!


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