Executive chef trains up local aspiring chefs

SYDNEY-based executive hospitality consultant and head chef David Alexander arrived in Karratha last week to coach aspiring young jobseekers in a career in hospitality.

David Alexander said he came to Karratha expecting to be encouraging basic participation, but instead the self-confessed hard-to-impress chef found himself astounded.

David said he based the teachings around fundamentals of food-based businesses as well as how to design a café concept.

He added the lessons will offer real employment opportunities for the jobseekers.

“I’ve spent a day with the class now using traditional native ingredients where we can, and I’m very impressed,” David said. “I can’t get this [homemade traditional sauce] in Sydney - they have it in their heart, the way they feel the food, taste the food…
“We made a chicken and corn soup and we’re looking at how to put an Aboriginal twist on it. So we could replace the chicken with any white meat, for example crocodile or bush turkey. The menu is infused with indigenous flavours so you’re also learning the culture through taste.”

David started his career in eastern cuisine and then went on to specialize in classical western cuisines with a focus on healthy eating. He has even cooked for the likes of rock star Jon Bon Jovi! He is now passing on his working experience and techniques to jobseekers right here in Karratha.

“These guys are learning very well,” David said. “From the foundational training I’ve given them this morning, explaining the how, what, when and why - they’re picking it up beautifully. I have full confidence in their futures.”

It’s an experience well received by jobseekers, including Hannah Humes from Karratha who spent two days with David.

“When David introduced himself I was excited to learn he is a head chef. It’s always good learning new skills and moving forward, it’s exciting to see and exciting to learn,” Hannah explained. “I’ve learnt knife skills, safety skills and hygiene and menu preparation and how to organize a kitchen. I always have fun in the kitchen and I’m excited to grow my skills.”

David was brought to Karratha on behalf on REFAP, a local employment and training agency dedicated to getting indigenous people real jobs in the local workforce. If those jobs aren’t available, REFAP will find creative ways of finding them employment and giving them purpose, and work experience.

REFAP CEO Triscilla Holborrow said the hospitality training with David is just the beginning.

“Although David is an International chef he grew up in a small place and understands our people and the barriers they face,” Triscilla said.

“He is here today to teach some skills and give them a taste of what working in a kitchen, café or restaurant is like.

“David will come back and follow up on what we’ve learnt this week.

“This is a story of starting with nothing, creating something you are passionate about and remembering where you come from.”

This is only the beginning for these promising chefs, baristas and hospitality managers. REFAP has an exciting announcement to make very soon.