A little help from the best

October 09, 2017

Former Shepparton student Tony Twitchett spoke about his transition from the area to being executive chef at one of Melbourne's most reknowned restaurants. Picture: Kristoffer Paulsenkris.

With the chance to be mentored by top Australian chef and former Shepparton resident Tony Twitchett, local apprentice chefs are being encouraged to enter the Fonterra Proud to be a Chef program.

Executive chef at one of Melbourne’s most esteemed restaurants Taxi Kitchen, Mr Twitchett will introduce the apprentices to his kitchen and Melbourne’s food culture.

‘‘It’s a week-long process where they get to dine in the restaurant and take a masterclass in the kitchen,’’ Mr Twitchett said.

Having worked under mentor Michael Lambie for most of his career, Mr Twitchett started his apprenticeship at the Stokehouse in St Kilda, but it was a far cry from his goals when he left Shepparton for Melbourne in 1996.

‘‘I’d always loved cooking,’’ he said.

‘‘But I moved to Melbourne to do information technology.’’

But with two older brothers working as chefs it was not long before Mr Twitchett jumped into the kitchen to earn some money.

After fitting right in, his brothers pushed him to get an apprenticeship and Mr Twitchett never looked back.

‘‘I started off on the pizza oven (at the Stokehouse); I used to make 600 pizzas every Sunday,’’ he said.

‘‘I really wanted to get into the fine dining side of things upstairs and within 12 months I’d got myself upstairs.’’

After travelling overseas and discovering his love of Asian cuisine, Mr Twitchett returned to Melbourne where he worked at Circa, before going to Taxi in 2004.

‘‘I’ve been there for nearly 13 years now,’’ he said.

Mr Twitchett encouraged all apprentice chefs to enter this year’s Fonterra’s Proud to be a Chef program.

‘‘I was lucky enough to be working with my brothers,’’ he said and added the city could be daunting to rural and regional youngsters.

Judges will choose 32 finalists to take part in the program where they will also be mentored by chef/owner of award-winning MoVida Bar de Tapas Frank Camorra and Fonterra Foodservice executive chef Peter Wright.

Entries close October 31 and entrants must have submitted an original recipe, outline where they see themselves in five years, list their culinary achievements and explain what they hope to get out of the program and why they chose an apprenticeship in cookery.

For more details about Proud to be a Chef, entry forms and contact information visit www.fonterraproudtobea

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