Young chefs aim for a win at Murray River Culinary Challenge


Young and talented student chefs will don their aprons and strive for victory at the Murray River Culinary Challenge Regional Finals at our Echuca campus on 31 August.

Organised by various LLENs along the Murray River, the competition will see VET in Schools commercial cookery students working in teams of two to win a coveted place in the finals next month – only five teams will make the cut. Students will be expected to demonstrate creativity and technical skills to a judging panel made up of local industry representatives.

Campaspe Cohuna LLEN’s structured workplace learning coordinator Jacq Campbell says the event promotes vocational training within the community and creates opportunities for student participants to engage with industry.

“The challenge offers an avenue to promote VET in Schools and show young people the career opportunities in hospitality. At all levels of the competition, judges are sourced from the local industry and this has resulted in opportunities for students in work experience, structured workplace learning and apprenticeships,” she said.

“It is fantastic to be hosting the regional finals at Bendigo TAFE’s Echuca campus and a true community partnership. The facilities at the campus are outstanding with great training kitchens and adjacent restaurant space.”

Of the eight competitors, six are Bendigo TAFE VET in School students who are currently completing the Certificate II in Kitchen Operations at Echuca campus. The students attend Echuca Secondary College, Rochester Secondary School and Cohuna Secondary College.

“Bendigo TAFE is excited to partner with the Campaspe Cohuna LLEN to host the regional finals of the Murray River Culinary Challenge at our Echuca campus. The competition is a valuable opportunity for participating students to show off their skills and network with local industry representatives,” said hospitality teacher Brendan Lethlean, who worked alongside teacher Rick Smolenaars to prepare student competitors and coordinate the event.

Bendigo TAFE’s Echuca campus offers cookery courses at its purpose-built training kitchen. The campus also offers new courses in tourism, hospitality and retail, plus programs in health, community, Koorie education and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL).