East meets West in Perth for WorldSkills nationals

DEDICATION AND COMMITMENT: Inverell chef Krystal Cagney is off to the national WorldSkills competition next month.  Photo: Barry Smith 210814BSB07

DEDICATION AND COMMITMENT: Inverell chef Krystal Cagney is off to the national WorldSkills competition next month. Photo: Barry Smith 210814BSB07

INVERELL has produced a bright young star on the cookery scene who is about to battle it out on the national stage.

Chef Krystal Cagney heads to Perth from September 18 to 20 for the National WorldSkills Competition to compete in the Commercial Cookery section.

In scenes reminiscent of a MasterChef challenge, Ms Cagney has had to make it through three competitions to get to the national level.

“This is the first competition I’ve done since starting my apprenticeship and finishing it,” she said.

In the final competition during a training camp in Newcastle, the Inverell chef said she had to cook a three-course meal and was judged on hygiene, how she used the ingredients, wastage, presentation and taste.

After five days of waiting, Ms Cagney received the call to say she was going to Perth to compete against 22 other chefs in the making.

The national competition involves three days of competition in which the chefs do two days of three course meals and the third day is a mystery box.

Ms Cagney said it came down to dedication and practice.

“I’ve been training one or two days a week with TAFE teacher Cameron Falzon over the past couple of months ,” she said.

“If you’re not willing to put in the time or effort, there’s no way you can get up to the standards that are expected. Most of the kids are still at TAFE and can still practice at TAFE, I’m finished now.”

Ms Cagney travels from Inverell to Tamworth each week to get as much practice in as she can.

She said she loved the challenges that being a chef brought. 

“Each day is different and it’s always a challenge trying to come up with new things,” she said.

“Plating would have to be one of the hardest things.

“You then have people come in with allergies and you deal with the challenge of being able to present and cook up to everyone’s expectations. It does get stressful, but in the long-run, no matter what people expect of you, you just want to keep on doing it.”

TAFE New England tourism and hospitality head teacher Barry Pawsey said if Ms Cagney won at nationals she could be chosen to compete with the Skillaroos in Brazil and it would boost her career.

“It can set her up for the rest of her life in a career because it gives them a lot of overseas contacts and gives them a lot of exposure,” he said.

Mr Pawsey said people who got to this level in WorldSkills were driven and committed.

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