Victoria University culinary student Gabrielle Entwisle was named one of Australia's best trainee chefs at the Australian Apprentice Chef of the Year contest held last week in Darwin.
Gabrielle, 25, from Richmond, was judged the country's Best Culinary Student by a panel of Australian Culinary Federation judges. In a two-hour contest, Gabrielle scored the highest on presentation, kitchen skills and taste in the culinary (non-apprenticeship) category for her two dishes: pan-fried barramundi with vegetables and lamb rump with sweet potato puree.
"It was a lot harder than I was expecting, given the time pressures and the Darwin heat," she said.
Gabrielle recently returned to Australia after living in London for seven years and completing a literature degree. Only this year did she begin culinary training to realise her dream of turning her passion for food into a career. She now has a food blog in which she shares recipes and reflections on her open-to-the-public regular dinner parties.
"The food changes each time but it's always designed to be shared," she said.
Nearly 5000 up-and-coming chefs from across Australia cooked their way through regional and state contests for a shot at the nationals. Victoria's four-member team, led by VU culinary teacher Jacqueline Bates, won one gold, two silver and a bronze medal at the nationals.