YOUNG CHEF: Connor Johnson-James at work in the kitchen.
YOUNG CHEF: Connor Johnson-James at work in the kitchen. Contributed

Beetroot and butter; a young chef's recipe for success

VODKA, chocolate and camomile are a few of young chef Connor Johnson-James' favourite things.

They are among the Springfield Lakes commercial cookery apprentices' most used ingredients in his recipes and helped him win the Nick Brida award for Excellence TAFE Queensland's Apprentice Chef of the Year awards on Monday evening.

Connor was among 10 apprentices to cook for their life in a Master Chef style decider competition.

On competition day, finalists were required to prepare one of their five menu item canapes as well as an entrée and main meal using a mystery box of ingredients.

Connor is completing a Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery at Bella Cosi Modern Italian Restaurant at Chermside and admits the competition has been challenging.

"To know that I am competing against the best-of-the-best in my class has been both exhilarating and nerve-wracking," Connor said.

"However, the experience has been a great one to have at this early stage of my career and I am really looking forward to the awards night and the competition results."

Connor said his favourite ingredients were red wine, garlic, chocolate, beetroot, sage, butter, camomile, vodka and scallops. "When I was given the opportunity to Study through TAFE, gaining a job in the kitchen, I was hooked from there, striving to achieve my best at the craft I have fallen in love with," he said.

"My goals are to use the knowledge and experience gained at TAFE to excel in the kitchen, to do my best in all areas of cookery.

"Using this as a foundation to continue on in the study of patisserie which upon completing, I would like to use my skills to travel the world soaking up the culture of hospitality and cookery."

The Nick Brida award for Excellence was created in memory of Nick Brida, a fondly remembered cookery teacher who was renowned for his great skills, passion and high expectations of apprentices.



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