Chef Kevin Cherkas, from acclaimed restaurant Cuca in Bali, paid a visit to the cookery students at the South Regional TAFE, giving an inspiring talk with the message that they can achieve what they want with determination and good technique.
The visit was part of the TAFE’s weekly gather and inspire programme where industry leaders and professionals share their experiences and passion for the industry.
Kevin was in Margaret River to finalise his Gourmet Escape dinner at Voyager Estate, and spent two days conducting food trials and wine and food pairing for his nine-course menu, before jetting off to be the invited Guest Chef and Speaker at the Food and Travel Mexico annual Reader Awards.
When he spoke to the Diploma and commercial cookery chefs at TAFE, Hospitality lecturer, Kelly Dickinson, said Kevin’s enthusiasm and passion was hard to put into words.
“One of the students said ‘oh wow, now I just want to do something really amazing with my career’,” said Dickinson.
“Kevin had a simple message, that the same ingredients can be used but what makes one dish good and the other incredible is technique and skill.
“You have to be hands on to learn great technique, the feel, the taste, you can’t learn it from a book.
“Kevin now travels the world motivating chefs, so to access a snippet of his insight was a once in a lifetime experience.”
Rarely do young chefs in regional areas have the chance to work alongside their idols, or to see critically-acclaimed chefs in action in the kitchen.
And, it’s not just a one-sided learning curve.
One Malaysian and two young Indonesian chefs are coming to Margaret River with Chef Kevin for the event, Cuca In Residence: Bali Eats and Beats.
It is the first visit to Australia for Chee Kok Sen, Made Budiantara and Wayan Sudiana, with a valuable opportunity to be exposed to the region’s produce and wines.
“With a new kitchen full of unique ingredients, a new team of talented chefs and a totally new way of doing things, it is impossible for our guys not to grow,” said Cherkas.
The Cuca team are staying after their events for a few more days, to explore the region and sample more of the local produce.
“We look forward not only to deliver a one of a kind culinary event but also to discover the magical products that make Margaret River so special,” he added.
Cuca In Residence: Bali Eats and Beats is on Thursday, 16 November and Friday, 17 November.
Tickets are available at www.voyagerestate.com.au/bookings