TAFE SA cookery student Holly Ashworth is a finalist in the 2020 Restaurant and Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence - SA.
Holly works at Stamps Restaurant in Mitcham and is shortlisted in the Apprentice Chef category of the awards.
Like others in hospitality, she has been working around the challenges of COVID-19 over the past few months.
“It was an adjustment, we went from limited seating to closing the dining room and developing a takeaway menu and working different hours,” she says.
“We did a lot of slow-cooked food and we were well supported by the local community.”
Holly says cooking with her mum and grandma as a child sparked an interest in food that she wanted to pursue.
In Year 10 she did work experience at Stamps and “loved it” and was offered a part-time job as a kitchenhand soon after.
She also worked at Grimaldi’s before heading overseas for several months in Europe.
Holly says she’s been fortunate to do a lot of travelling with her family and the experiences have fuelled her passion.
“I’ve been to a Michelin star dumpling restaurant in Hong Kong which was fantastic,” she says.
“My Europe trip provided some great food experiences. I have a special place in my heart for pastries and the pastries in Paris are totally amazing.”
She began her apprenticeship at Stamps in February 2019 and attends TAFE SA once a week, where she says she enjoys spending time with her classmates.
TAFE SA cookery lecturer Stuart Rimmington says Holly is a model student who displays great ability and commitment to her studies.
“Holly has been a student of TAFE SA for the past 12 months and in this time she has shown excellent ability in her industry, with attention to detail in her preparation of food and theory work, a depth of understanding of food and the transference of knowledge to skills in the practical classes,” Stuart says.
“For someone of her age, Holly demonstrates great appreciation of her industry and the level of detail that goes into her theory work and practical demonstrations is above industry benchmarks.”
Holly says she enjoys cooking a wide variety of food and is open to “trying anything and everything”.
“I’m lucky at Stamps because we’re not limited on what we cook, we’re not boxed into one style,” she says.
“I love watching people eat food I’ve prepared, especially when they get excited about it and share it with others.”
The winners of the 2020 Restaurant and Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence will be announced on 12 October.