Meet Peter Howard AM Scholarship Winner Claudia Meoli

Posted on February 6, 2020 , No comments

3rd Year apprentice Chef Claudia Meoli was the deserving recipient of the Peter Howard AM Culinary Scholarship, which was awarded at the 2019 HTN Skills Showcase.

The scholarship awards the winning apprentice with the opportunity to design their own culinary adventure, offering return airfares to the UK or China plus $5000 in spending money to further their culinary education.

Winner of the HTN Peter Howard AM Culinary Scholarship 2019 Claudia Meoli

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Beth CesarinMeet Peter Howard AM Scholarship Winner Claudia Meoli

Ask Peter Howard AM

Posted on February 5, 2020 , No comments

Over the relaxing Christmas break, I took to watching the numerous cooking shows that abound on TV these days. There are so many different approaches to cooking on TV and most are being filmed on location around the globe…these shows are exciting to watch and technically very good, even though some locations would have presented problems for the host and crew.

As I watched the guys cooking, I realised that so many of them were trained qualified Chefs. Rick Stein is the statesman of the TV Chefs and a brilliant Chef – I’ve eaten in his UK restaurant a few times when he was on the pans working. And he knows his stuff for sure – just watch his knife skills on TV!

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Beth CesarinAsk Peter Howard AM

HTN Skills Showcase 2019

Posted on January 20, 2020 , No comments

The HTN Skills Showcase gave HTN’s apprentice chefs the opportunity to sharpen their knives and demonstrate their skills, preparing and serving a 3-course meal to almost 100 guests.

HTN apprentices at work in the kitchen

Two scholarships were awarded on the night – the HTN Peter Howard AM Culinary Scholarship and the Margaret Fulton Future Food Service Professional Scholarship. Each is designed to provide the winning apprentice the opportunity to create their own culinary adventure, learning from the world’s best with paid work experience and travel.

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Beth CesarinHTN Skills Showcase 2019

HTN Apprentice shines as Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley awarded a hat

Posted on January 17, 2020 , No comments

HTN apprentice chef Tyeron Roswell is part of the successful Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley team, which was recently awarded a hat as part of the Australian Good Food Guide Awards.

The team, helmed by Executive Chef Craig Robertson and lead by Sous Chef Jake Hayes, takes a farm to table approach which is evident in the way Jake writes his menus and delivers his dishes.

At just 24, Jake displays enormous drive and a desire to succeed – his passion for cooking evident in recognition from Australian Good Food Guide in his first senior role.

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Beth CesarinHTN Apprentice shines as Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley awarded a hat

HTN ‘Mystery Food Tour’ Masterclass

Posted on January 5, 2020 , No comments

The last HTN Masterclass for 2019 was an exciting ‘Mystery Food Tour’ proudly sponsored by Australian Pork, Select Fresh Providores and Krio Krush.

Hosted by the Sam Prince Hospitality Group, attendees spent an afternoon observing head chefs from Kid Kyoto, INDU and Méjico as they created signature dishes using secondary or ‘waste’ pork cuts as the hero ingredient.

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Beth CesarinHTN ‘Mystery Food Tour’ Masterclass

Ask Peter Howard AM

Posted on October 4, 2019 , No comments

Just when I was getting used to Spring, yesterday I noticed a bright notice, in a local restaurant window, advertising Christmas bookings and another with the menu for Christmas Day. I guess I am joining the group that says ‘Where did the year go?’ and yes time seems to have flown.

I remember the Christmas Days that I worked and all the different menus and dishes I have tried over the years and still, I know that there will always be the essentials that represent a tradition that is Christmas. Roast Pork + apple sauce, Turkey + Cranberry and gravy and so in it goes. It is a very traditional time of the year.

Tradition also, for we Cooks/Chefs, is that we work out butts off over the silly season while our customers have a great time at Christmas parties, annual get-togethers and family gatherings. And for me it was a fact that this time of the year was when I could make some extra profits in my businesses. Did I have time for family on the Day? No, but I did make up for that precious time later on. After all our business is to work while our customers enjoy their time.

So I worked many Christmas Days and when I retired I did not know what to do with my time on that special day. I soon found out how to enjoy myself but as usual, I found myself in the kitchen cooking family fare and enjoying my time in the kitchen. Instead of numerous chickens to roast, there was one; kilos of potatoes to roast were reduced to one and so on it went.

I have to admit I really liked cooking on Christmas Day and for the Christmas season and I realise that old habits die hard and for this up-coming Christmas Day, I will help cook a charity lunch for our local homeless here in Coolum Beach where I live. I know I will enjoy doing this event…tradition is hard to break.

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MinaAsk Peter Howard AM

Ask Peter Howard AM

Posted on August 22, 2019 , No comments

On Vietnam Vets Day (August 18th, 2019) I was a guest speaker at an RSL event at Woodgate Beach. It was an honour to be asked and in my speech, I concentrated on what I had learned in my 2 years of National Service duty from 1968-1970.

So many things I learnt were to be invaluable to me when I went on to a career in cooking. I felt the most important lesson I picked up was discipline which is essential in the Army and in kitchens.

Discipline is, as you know, crucial in the kitchen where you are required to always take orders from your boss, your Chef or to whomever you are working with/for. I well remember the first time in the kitchen and getting more orders than I could process but I did work my way through them…with a little help. In the Army, we were required to take orders and not talk back or question an order and it took a lot of discipline to shut up and do as I was told – something I was not used to. The same in the kitchen…never backchat the Chef.

In your studies, you need to discipline yourself to knuckle down and do your assignments or whatever is needed to achieve your educational goals.

When I started my first restaurant in Rockhampton, I had to discipline myself to work the long hours that are required when you run your own business. Short days were 15 hours long.

It is 50 years ago that I returned from Vietnam to complete my service here in Australia (January 1970) and to go to East Sydney Food School to start studies in cooking and hospitality – happy days, lucky days for me to fall into an industry I learned to love and respect. I am forever grateful for the lessons learned in the Army days especially discipline.

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MinaAsk Peter Howard AM

Chefs Table Awards Dinner – 2019

Posted on August 7, 2019 , No comments

Last night we attended the Awards evening for the 2019 Chef’s Table Competition, created by ClubsNSW.

Chef’s Table was created to award and recognise the many talented chefs, cooks, and apprentices in NSW Clubs, by challenging kitchen teams in a supportive and collaborative environment.

It has been exciting to see the incredible talents of our up and coming apprentices, with the dishes created for the competition at a world-class standard.

HTN is delighted that apprentice chef, Summer Carson, has been recognised as Chef’s Table 2019 Apprentice of the Year.  Summer who works at The Illawarra Master Builders Club was recognised for her passion in the kitchen, and her fantastic technique and hygiene. Summer was also applauded for her polite and courteous manner throughout the competition.

Summer and the other chefs involved in the competition experienced working collaboratively and with senior chef’s who have supported their development throughout the competition period.

The standard of cooking that we have seen throughout the Chef’s Table competition suggests that many of our country’s best and up and coming chefs are working within our Clubs.

The Chef’s Table by ClubsNSW is now the largest culinary competition in the Southern Hemisphere.

Who will be the next superstars to be discovered in next year’s competition? If you’d like to find out more about Chefs Table for 2020, click here.

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MinaChefs Table Awards Dinner – 2019

Ask Peter Howard AM

Posted on August 7, 2019 , No comments

Over this last weekend, I participated in the Queensland Professional Chef of the Year 2019 competition at the Food & Hospitality Queensland Expo in Brisbane – August 4 -5); I was the MC for the two-day event.

As usual, it was so very exciting and just amazing to watch brilliant young Chefs at work as they had to prepare and present 2 courses (4 plates for each course) in one hour from surprise ingredients. An hour goes so quickly in this event. The winner was Chef Matthew Lee from the Brisbane Convention and Entertainment Centre and it was his third time to compete in this marvelous event conducted by Tim Collett of Specialised Events. He and his team are dedicated to running the best events.

As I watched the Chefs and the judges at work, I got that this whole process of competing was dedication in action. The competitors, the judges, the organisers (Chef Gary Farrell and his wife Renee), the audience – they are all dedicated to the cause of bringing Chefs to the forefront of the Hospitality Industry.

So what do I mean by dedication? Surely it is just another competition. Well no, it isn’t because so much time and effort goes into making a competition like this work and believe me, this competition works not only in Brisbane but also in Sydney and Melbourne at the FSA Show.

Sponsors are found (Unox Ovens and Australian Pork are Gold Sponsors), competitors are found. 98 Chefs applied for Brisbane and 28 were chosen and they had to dedicate time to practice their dishes and then to be at the event itself…get time off work etc and in the case of 3 Chefs, travel from Cairns at their own expense – dedication to cooking for sure.

Judges volunteer and they had to be top-notch because of the caliber of the Chefs they are judging. The Chair of Judges was Chef Karen Doyle (LCB and President of ACF) with fellow Judges Chefs Paul Rifkin, Andre Kropp, and Shane Keighley. Now, these guys epitomised dedication to me as they tasted 64 dishes over two days and adjudicated. They were on their feet all day (as Chefs they are used to it) and they had to concentrate all the time as they judged.

I come back the point that to get such an important competition together, there has to be organisation and dedication from all involved and I saw it again as I MC this event regularly. With everyone who participated, I saw dedication and love…passion if you like and that is what we all need if we are going to be Chefs in this competitive business.

Compete in Sydney in 2020 -email info@specialisedevents.com.au  for information.

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MinaAsk Peter Howard AM

Ask Peter Howard AM

Posted on July 15, 2019 , No comments

The old saying that everything old is new again has never disappeared. Constantly we see fashion showing old designs with a new twist to suit us in our era. The same is true in the world of food and wine and especially for us cooks/Chefs.

Last week I was very happy to be a judge at the HTN & ACF Apprentice Chefs’ Culinary Competition run annually by ACF (NSW/ACT) and HTN at Ryde TAFE and I was impressed with the ability of the competitors. It was a very well conducted competition with judges from ACF, LCB and TAFE.

The judges discussed the fact that techniques that are time honoured were on show. Techniques that I was taught in 1970, nearly 50 years ago at East Sydney Food School, the forerunner to Ryde Campus. And the competitors using these techniques were 2nd and 3rd apprentices.

Gnocchi being made by hand and piped into the simmering water – excellent. There was a brilliant example of a Lemon Meringue Pie with excellent short crust pastry; and I watched in awe as individual Pavlovas came together by hand. It made me very happy that a young apprentice would whisk the meringue with a balloon whisk and not an electronic implement.

Look I know it is slower than mechanical and it is good to do it but a machine which is certainly quicker. However, to be able to prepare food using older methods shows knowledge, skill and patience.

Knowing what to do comes from training and having that knowledge is crucial to being an all rounder and that is what training is meant to provide – a cook/Chef who can adapt to any cooking situation. If you watch Heston enough you will know that he uses time honoured cooking techniques as a basis to the magic he performs.

Perhaps you may be tired of training and learning but as you age and continue cooking, you will never forget what you learnt and come to be very glad you were taught. The winner of competitions 3rd year category had brought with him all the bells and whistles…suos vide and other modern implements but he still used technical knowhow with the modern appliances.

Yesterday, I proudly turned out a choux pastry to make Cream Puffs and that process took me back 50 years to when I first learnt how to make that brilliant pastry with its unique properties. Extraordinary and all done by hand; the Cream Puffs were just delicious. Learning and training in all methods and ages is the best thing to ever happen to you in cooking.

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MinaAsk Peter Howard AM