The TAFE NSW Hamilton commercial kitchens have been transformed into a chocolate jungle by the next generation of pâtissiers.
The colossal chocolate sculptures stand some 60cm high and depict bright imaginative scenes from nature complete with nests, vines, bird eggs and even a cartoonish honey pot featuring in some of the designs.
Under the guidance of renowned pastry chef and leading TAFE NSW teacher, Dean Gibson, Certificate IV in Patisserie students have presented their final works before they take their place in patisseries, chocolate shops and bakeries across the Hunter region.
Mr Gibson, a pioneer of the Australian pastry scene commended the students at a presentation of the final showpieces and chocolate sculptures and says local businesses are ready to snap up highly skilled graduates and practicing chefs increase their dessert offerings.
“The final chocolate sculptures are beautiful work and really demonstrate the fundamental skills and knowledge the students have learnt over the course as well as their commitment to presentation.
“TAFE NSW prepares students to work in industry by developing their pastry skills and knowledge as well as business, food safety and work health and safety so they are prepared for employment in their dream jobs. We are proud of the most recent graduates who have worked hard during disruptions caused by COVID-19 and they will be an asset to any local business.”
TAFE NSW student Jo Gray said she has a small business supplying friends and family with pastries and desserts and wants to expand this to one day open her own pastry shop.
“I love being creative and designing and seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they see my work or eat it,” Jo said.
“We have also learnt about stock rotation, storing, how to manage people, rostering and ordering food so the course has definitely helped me take the next step to opening my own business.”
Fellow student Chelsea Richter said her “dream job is to become a top pastry chef and chocolatier” and she is on the way to making this dream a reality having already secured a job trial.
Chelsea credits her teachers for developing her skills and techniques as she progressed through the course and is confident of mastering her talents when she starts working.
“Undertaking this course at TAFE NSW was the best decision I’ve made,” she said.
“Being taught by experienced industry professionals is amazing because they care about you learning the skills and succeeding.”
According to the Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business Pastrycook occupational report employers in regional areas have particular difficulty filling vacancies, filling just 38 per cent of vacancies in 2018.
“The local patisserie industry in Newcastle is holding strong with customers seeking out quality desserts and pastries from their favourite bakery or patisserie shop as a treat or for a celebration,” Mr Gibson said.