High schoolers learn from one of TV’s MasterChefs during annual CQUni cooking competition

Published:09 May 2017

MasterChef 2016 Runner-Up Matt Sinclair inspired students from several Rockhampton high schools at the CQUniversity Rockhampton AVC Cooking Competition on 8 May.

Masterchef runner-up Matt Sinclair cooked up a storm of inspiration for dozens of high school students as part of a fun cooking competition at CQUniversity’s Willby’s Training Restaurant on 8 May.

The 2016 MasterChef celebrity was a special guest judge for the 2017 CQUniversity Rockhampton AVC School Cooking Competition at the Rockhampton City Campus, which saw students from Emmaus College, Rockhampton Girls Grammar, Glenmore State High, The Cathedral College and Rockhampton State High put their novice skills to the test in the Willby’s kitchens by preparing a three-course dinner.

The school students were given a mystery box of ingredients to an Asian theme from which they had to create an entrée, main and dessert. The co-judges were CQUniversity Chef Teacher Adrian Newby and CQUniversity Rockhampton Region Engagement Committee member Jason Pfingst.

The Rockhampton Girls Grammar School claimed first prize, with Glenmore State High in second place and third going to The Cathedral College.

Although Matt said he is no stranger to the high-stress nature of a restaurant and competitive cooking, he admitted it was his first time assisting and judging a group of high schoolers.

“This type of competition is a great way for the school kids to get some insight into what the hospitality industry is all about before they wrap up their schooling,” Matt said.

“I trained with TAFE in Sydney in Hospitality Management and I was able to use what I learned to work in different restaurants and go for the higher positions.

“Even before I got onto MasterChef I was already at the point where I could build a small business, so I know the benefits of doing this sort of vocational training.”

CQUniversity Associate Vice-Chancellor Rockhampton Kim Harrington said, in the end, all the students were winners.

“As Matt said, this competition allowed the students to experience what it’s like to work in a professional restaurant kitchen – they have acquired skills and knowledge from professionals – and with any luck, they just might follow in their footsteps and become master chefs themselves,” she said.

Visit the CQUniversity website for more information on the range of available Hospitality courses.