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Deniel’s dream is to become a head chef or Michelin star chef

An image of a smiling male hospitality student in a chef uniform in a kitchen setting. There are two other students in uniform cooking in the background.

Twenty one-year-old Deniel Sarmiento, from the Philippines, has just completed his SIT30816 Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at Bunbury campus of South Regional TAFE. Driven by his passion for cooking, he moved to Australia in the hopes of further developing these skills.

A fresh start

Western Australia (WA) is home to many amazing attractions, including bustling markets, surfing, a lively music scene and an endless selection of delicious eateries.

These amenities, and having the ability to live close to campus, drew Deniel to Bunbury; a place that now feels like his home away from home. However, despite loving his new surroundings, it hasn't all been easy for Deniel.

"Everyone is different, but for me personally I [found] that my first year of studying at TAFE was quite challenging mentally. Not only did I feel incredibly shocked in the beginning, but I also had to adjust a lot of parts of me that I didn't know existed." he says. 

Deniel was comforted by the incredible training he received and the amount he learned from his lecturers and fellow peers. He took full advantage of the ability to access tutoring services, student assistance and practical classes — a combination that he says led to his success. 

"The pinnacle of my time here was when I [received my SIT30816 Certificate III in Commercial Cookery qualification in the mail]," he says. 

A look into  commercial cookery

The SIT30816 Certificate III in Commercial Cookery course offered at TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA) assists students to gain the practical skills and knowledge to be able to plan, organise, prepare and cook food in a range of commercial workspaces including restaurants, hotels, clubs, pubs, cafes and coffee shops.

Students get the opportunity to practise their skills in training kitchens and restaurants located on campus. Here, they will be involved in planning menus, developing teams and preparing a range of cuisines.

Future prospects

Aside from preparing him for a culinary career, Deniel's time studying at TAFE also helped him become a more independent and efficient person. He adds that these skills will be helpful when the time comes to apply his training to a professional career. "After all, the dream is to become a head chef or Michelin star chef." he says.

Currently, Deniel is about to begin the SIT40516 Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery. Following this, he plans to continue his education with the SIT50416 Diploma of Hospitality Management. He's also exploring his working visa options to potentially expand his practical cooking skills even more.

The SIT40516 Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery extends students' learning into management areas such as becoming a team leader or kitchen supervisor. Students will learn how to handle work health and safety issues and cater to different dietary requirements.

The SIT50416 Diploma of Hospitality Management focuses on acquiring a management career in the hospitality industry. It covers subjects such as financial management, industry regulations, stock management, workplace conflict resolution and customer service. 

Advice for future students

Deniel's words of wisdom for fellow international students are to seriously consider what you would like to do for a career.

Once you do, he reminds students to not be afraid to jump in and follow their dreams — no matter how complicated or impossible they may seem. A positive attitude and a sense of bravery, he says, have accounted for a lot of his own success.

"Keep your feet on the ground and enjoy your time here because it really is such an amazing opportunity. Keep going even when times get hard because, in the end, you'll thank yourself for all the sacrifices you've made." he concludes.

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