Creating Skills for life


Castaway Island Resort Chefs celebrate success

Nov 11, 2011

On Saturday 20 August, ten chefs from the kitchen at Castaway Island received their Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery) award in a small but celebratory graduation ceremony in the presence of the owner of Castaway Island Resort, Mr Geoffrey Shaw, Executive Chef, Mr Lance Seeto, Resort managers and staff and representatives from the Australia-Pacific Technical College. The program began with a traditional welcome for the dignitaries followed by lunch in the restaurant prepared by the graduates and the presentation of certificates.

The graduation ceremony was the culmination of an 18-month program delivered entirely in the island in the resort's kitchens and training facilities. This highly effective training method provided the students with the opportunity to train and hone their skills in their workplace as well as reducing the amount of time away from work and was designed to fit in with their rosters and periods of rest off the island. Describing the benefits of a workplace-based program, graduate Apenisa Uluira said "With APTC, they teach all the basics and I loved that I could study and work at the same time, because the things I learned in class, I was doing at work for the tourists".

Culinary teacher Douglas Battison travelled to Castaway Island each week and trained the students before returning to the mainland and his other teaching commitments. "I loved going out to Castaway each and every week, he said, "the students were full of enthusiasm and always put in 100% to their classes. I am so proud to have joined them on this special day".

"Training the local chefs to cook for the gourmet traveler from the world is not just about techniques, recipes or certification", said Executive Chef, Lance Seeto, "it's about instilling the love and passion for food that does not come naturally for a Fijian cook, as Fijian's do not eat, cook or see food in the same way as most Westerners. APTC's industry training means that we can now proudly market our food and cuisine as a key component of their Fijian holiday experience"

"At local college", explained graduate Kunal Prasad, "the cooking terms were not explained to me and I didn't understand the recipes or why we were doing things. With APTC, the teacher took the time to show me and explain why we prepare foods in different ways and now in makes sense". Another graduate, Stephen Seeto, summed up the course with this comment "I have trained under several Australian chefs in Fiji, but the APTC training has boosted my confidence and knowledge that I now know what the European tourist is expecting of our food in Fiji - it's a very high standard that I didn't understand before"

The success of the program is the result of strong industry partnership between the Castaway Island Resort management team and flexibility of the APTC School of Tourism and Hospitality in Namaka. Each partner worked together to juggle the many demands of training and resort operation to ensure the students had the necessary time to study and apply their skills and knowledge in the workplace. The program has certainly helped Castaway become known as one of the hot foodie destinations in the Mamanuca Islands.

APTC is an Australian Government program providing Technical and Vocational Education and Training courses at its four Pacific campuses in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu. The College offers Pacific Island women and men opportunities to gain Australian qualifications in Automotive, Electrical, Construction and Manufacturing trades, Health and Community Services as well as in Hospitality and Tourism.

APTC is an Australian Government initiative in partnership with the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

APTC is implemented by TAFE Queensland (RTO 0275)

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