Justin Gomes, 18, his cousin Anthea, 16, and Tesia Williams, 25, all of Box Ridge, prepare their own graduation feast after completing their hospitality certificate.
Justin Gomes, 18, his cousin Anthea, 16, and Tesia Williams, 25, all of Box Ridge, prepare their own graduation feast after completing their hospitality certificate. DAVID NIELSEN

Box Ridge students promote bush tucker

BOX RIDGE resident Tesia Williams hopes lemon myrtle and edible waterlilies are as common as fish and chips on Australian restaurant menus of the future.

Tesia, 25, graduated yesterday with a TAFE certificate in hospitality, and plans to use her culinary skills and passion for food to help preserve the rich menu of Australian bush tucker while forging a career in cooking.

Tesia said her grandparents had not been allowed to use traditional ingredients and she was determined to prevent such recipes from being ‘wiped out’ and the rich array of ingredients ignored.

Tesia was one of three students from the Box Ridge Aboriginal community at Coraki who graduated from the course yesterday, all excited at their new career prospects and about impressing their family and friends with their new skills.

Anthea Gomes, 16, is also keen to promote native dishes as her career blossoms.

However, she is also proud of her Thai chicken salad and frothy cappuccinos.

“I used to be an expert at making instant coffee,” Anthea conceded. “Now I can make a cappuccino and I think I’ve forgotten how to make instant coffee.”

Tesia has also become a coffee-making expert, and said friends at Box Ridge should look forward to a few good cups after receiving a coffee machine from her aunty this week.

Anthea wants to pass on the skills she learnt during the course to other Box Ridge residents.
“I made biscuits for the kids at Box Ridge and they ate every single one and didn’t leave any for me,” she said.

“I can’t wait to show my aunty the chicken salad.”

Anthea’s cousin, Justin, 18, said the two girls had to convince him to take the course. However, he was now glad he had done it.

“I reckon my friends will be jealous of the meals I can make now,” he said.

Members of the trio’s families beamed proudly as completion certificates were handed out yesterday.

The ceremony was followed by a banquet prepared by the graduating class, which had also run a YWCA cafe in Lismore during the five-month course.


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