Food

Young Chef Talent - From Crown to CH James

CH James prides itself on employing top staff in the hospitality industry and welcomes Finalist in the Apprentice of the Year 2014 Rebecca Woodcock to the team to work with acclaimed Head Chef Franck Verschaeve.

Rebecca comes to CH James with high skill levels with a Cert III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery) from Crown College and a great attitude, having been trained by the best. Rebecca was also the Crown Melbourne Apprentice of the Year 2014 and was a chef in the kitchen at Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar.

The Victorian Training Awards are a great way to gain recognition for the hard work and achievements made within the vocational education and training sector. For students it is a great opportunity to further your career, develop new networks and be recognised as the best in your field. Says the Dept of Education and Training site, Rebecca Woodcock was working in a kitchen in Tasmania when the chef advised her to quit and move to Melbourne. “That’s where everything’s happening,” she said.

Rebecca was 21 and had just returned to her home state after three years overseas. She had always loved cooking, often baking treats at night for the lunchboxes of her five younger brothers. At school, she considered careers in fashion or cookery, but a stint working at a game estate in Scotland cemented her choice.

“I fell in love with the simplicity of the food – how what you were serving had come from the farm two hours ago.” She found restaurant work within a month of deciding to move to Melbourne and later started her Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at Crown College.

“Learning theory, implementing it in a supervised practical class and then translating it back to work immediately was invaluable,” Rebecca says. She also had the opportunity to volunteer at major food events. “I had to instruct others and work under pressure.”

The 27-year-old from Thornbury was a chef at Mr Hive at Crown, where she had the freedom to create weekly specials.  “You have to know the rules before you can break them . . . I can’t fathom how I would do this without my apprenticeship.”

CH James is now thrilled to have Rebecca in our kitchen with the team and the highly skilled and imaginative Head Chef Franck Verschaeve. Rebecca's love for fresh and seasonal honest food cooked with flair fits in well with the CH James kitchen philosophy.

CH James menu is ever evolving with popular dishes such as Scrambled chilli eggs and the Ricotta and smoked trout perennial brunch favourites, with recent additions of Dr Marty crumpets, cured ocean trout, holybernay, chard and poached eggs and the House cured ocean trout, salted zucchini and fennel & dill salad proving highly popular. The French Toast, thick cut bacon, maple syrup & seasonal fruit was a popular brunch special that has now been added to the daily brunch menu. Popular also is the lunch menu with recent additions of Spiced pork sausages, Asian coleslaw & siracha mayo, Calamari filled with couscous, currant, pistachio & pickled cucumber, and the Marinated flank steak, caramelised onions, crushed crispy spuds & cos salad - all proving a smash hit.

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