He’s gone from TAFE NSW student chef, to the kitchen of the world’s best restaurant - Noma in Copenhagen. Now, restaurateur Wade Williams is keen to show future chefs the South Coast can offer more than pub grub.
Ants and sea urchin tongue are about as far from chicken schnitzel and steak Dianne as you can get, but the alien-like ingredients were a refreshing change for a group of TAFE NSW Bega cookery students recently.
With his haul of fresh seafood, piled on the beach among a variety of seaweeds and other coastal plants, Mr Williams inspired the students to think beyond meals based around meat and veg.
After foraging along the coast for fresh local ingredients, the students spent the day cooking with the hatted chef at his Barragga Bay restaurant, Long Time No Sea.
Above: from left Nickelli Sawers, TAFE NSW Bega teacher David Arens, Rhiannon Alcock, Will Flemming, front Zebediah Joiner, Dionicita Everett, Will Wade, owner of Long Time No Sea restaurant, Jordan Frost, Jacob Litchfield.
For those dining at the restaurant, it’s very much about breathtaking ocean views and the simplicity of local flavours. For the students the focus was on the possibilities to come from their morning’s bounty and practical work experience. In only a few years since graduating from TAFE NSW, Mr Williams has worked around the world at the pinnacle of fine dining and is passionate about passing on his skills and knowledge to emerging South Coast chefs. “Growing up in the area I thought being a chef meant only working with pub food. Now I’m about helping get the kids out and showing them that it’s not,” Mr Williams said.
“Having the skills to be able to adapt to different produce is one of the most important things a chef can learn. Our menu is changed every week on the basis of what’s available.”
The connection between Mr Williams and students was made during the annual TAFE NSW Bega Industry and Networking Dinner, an example of how the organisation’s employer connections are formed.
After talking with TAFE NSW teachers Deirdre Jory and David Arens, Mr Williams and his partner Sophie decided they were in a position to offer an industry partnership.
“I think it’s important to give back. These TAFE NSW students are the future of the industry,” Mr Williams said.
TAFE NSW Bega cookery teacher David Arens said the students came up with some amazing dishes on the day. Marlin sashimi with pickled kohlrabi, soy and finger lime, being among them.
“It was about Will’s way of drawing inspiration from the local environment to enhance dishes, but still using foundation cookery techniques, skills we teach at TAFE NSW,” Mr Arens said.
To ramp up your kitchen qualifications see what’s on the menu at www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.