TAFE apprentice wins second Golden Plate award

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

Federation TAFE student and rising culinary star Alexis Saville was named Apprentice of the Year at the 2023 Golden Plate Awards – the second year running she has won the prestigious title.

The Golden Plate Awards showcase and celebrate the best of regional Victorian hospitality and were announced in front of more than 100 of the state’s culinary industry.

Ms Saville recently completed the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at Federation TAFE under the supervision of teacher, Murray Lewis.

She began her career in the kitchen as a Federation TAFE Vocational Education and Training Delivered in Secondary Schools (VETDSS) student before commencing an apprenticeship with Beppe Bar & Kitchen, then transferring to the celebrated contemporary Japanese restaurant, Kadota in Daylesford last year where she works under chef Aaron Schembri.

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Kadota took out the main prize when it was named 2023 Gold Plate Winner, as well as winning the Best Contemporary Dining Award.

Creative culinary skills shine

“Alexis is a very talented chef who has worked exceedingly hard and thoroughly deserves this award,” Mr Lewis says. “She is going from strength to strength in the Kadota kitchen and displaying skills beyond her years. Studying at Federation TAFE ensures the best possible outcomes for our students.”

For Ms Saville, winning the prestigious award for the second year in a row has left her feeling “very proud”, especially as the competition guidelines changed this year.

“Last year, I was given a recipe to follow but this year we had to use our own creativity and develop a menu item, workflow, and recipes that followed the set criteria. I owe a lot of my success to all my teachers at Federation TAFE and the mentors I have worked under. The teachers really showed their passion and made it more fun and enjoyable. They seemed to genuinely care about their students,” she told EducationDaily.

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In the future, she says, “I would like to continue honing my skills at Kadota and work my way up into a management role while I work out exactly which direction I take my career in”.

“Wherever I land, I hope to always be involved in the local food scene, supporting and producing good quality and creative food.”

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]brandx.live