Ballina apprentice chef top order

AFTER cooking up a sumptuous three-course meal Ben Lock, of Ballina, was declared Apprentice of the Year for the North Region at Kingscliff TAFE recently.

The meal that won it for him started with blue swimmer crab and red snapper ravioli, followed by a lamb loin and a cold lemon souffle.

"It was great," said Ben.

"There's nothing better than winning."

And the food?

"It was very nice. We didn't get to eat the whole meal.

"We just got a taste test after the judges had tried it."

The entrants had two months to prepare for the competition, and were given a list of ingredients, but no recipes.

However this posed no problem for 19-year-old Ben, who has worked as an apprentice at the Ballina Beach Resort for the past three years.

"I had cooked the dishes before," he said.

"They were things that were fairly familiar to me, so I pretty much worked the recipe out in my head."

Ben said while some apprentices chose to move around and do six months in different kitchens, he had preferred to stay in the one place and progress through the ranks.

As a third-year apprentice he did prep work during the day and food ser- vice at night.

A first-year apprentice would merely do prep work, maybe some desserts and cleaning, he said.

Becoming a fully-qualified chef takes four years as an apprentice, so Ben still has one more year to go.

Over half of that time is spent also going to classes at TAFE, which Ben said was a good break from work.

"But it's also a good learning curve and you get to see where all the other apprentices are up to."

When he has finished Ben hopes to open a cafe/restaurant serving modern Australian food with a twist.


"Byron would be nice."

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