L-R Kieran Foster, Australian Vocational Student Of The Year (TAFE), Jules Allen (Master Chef) of Lennox Head and North Coast TAFE Teacher, David Forster at The Sample Food Festival, Bangalow.
L-R Kieran Foster, Australian Vocational Student Of The Year (TAFE), Jules Allen (Master Chef) of Lennox Head and North Coast TAFE Teacher, David Forster at The Sample Food Festival, Bangalow. Patrick Gorbunovs

Culinary whiz bags top award

LISMORE apprentice chef Kieran Foster can thank his maternal grandparents for adding more than a little spice to his career.

The 18-year-old TAFE graduate was recently awarded Australian Vocational Student of the Year, earning him great respect and $2000 pocket money.

But he says it was an aromatic upbringing, time spent hanging out in the family kitchen with his Turkish grandfather and English grandmother that inspired him to cook on a professional level.

"There was always amazing spices and pastries. My pop would also make his own cheeses," he explained. "Cool stuff like that."

When it came time to seek work experience Kieran hounded owner of Paupiette's in Lismore, David Forster and eventually landed his first job in the cosy little French restaurant near the Wyrallah Road round- about.

When he came to Wollongbar TAFE, David was his commercial cookery teacher and together the pair demonstrated their skills on Saturday at the Sample Food Festival at Bangalow, where they teamed up with Lennox-based celebrity chef Jules Allen in a public display of culinary whiz-bangery.

Kieran said David was a "huge influence" on his education and he particularly loved the workplace that was Paupiettes.

"We enjoyed what we did," explained David.

"It was like family," said Kieran. "We were close knit."

David enjoyed nurturing his staff, helping them to grow as individuals as well as professionals and plenty of that attitude rubbed off onto Kieran who plans to use the same philosophy when he steps out into the world.

As for Jules Allen, travel is on her cards too, with a trip to Cambodia planned this week to help impoverished children escape slavery and find work in the kitchen (ironic isn't it) before she returns for next Sunday's open day at Summerland House Farm.

"MasterChef has set me on the path that I want," said the former television cookery star. "And that is food and charity."



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