Jeszare says time at CQU TAFE helped him cook up a career as a chef

30 June 2024
Image of an asian man in a kitchen with a graphic depicting a 10 years anniversary graphic and quote
Jeszare Anteza has come a long way since studying cookery at CQU TAFE in 2015

By Greg Chapman

In 2015, while learning English at CQU TAFE, Jeszare Anteza started an apprenticeship as a chef - despite only having the use of one hand - and almost 10 years later he’s still defying the odds.

CQUniversity caught up with Jez in Rockhampton as part of its 10-year anniversary celebrations of CQU merging with CQ TAFE to see what achievements he’s made since his training.

Originally from the Philippines, Jez showed an aptitude for cookery while undertaking the Adult Migrant English Program, and then chef teacher Tim Wade helped connect him with local restaurant, Cloud 9.

“I worked at Cloud 9 until late 2019 when I decided to work at the mining camp in western Mackay for a year as a chef,” he said.

“It was a great experience, but it was quite challenging for me to live away from home (Rockhampton).

“It was also challenging because the working hours were longer and busier.”

Following a change in management at Cloud 9, Jez was rehired as a chef and worked there for a few more years, while also working as a chef at the Coffee House Café.

“Early last year I decided to commit to one job, which is the Coffee House Café. I enjoy working there as a chef and it’s been a privilege to work as a full-time employee,” he said.

Image of an Asian man standing in a kitchen with two other men
Jeszare Anteza with then Cloud 9 manager Don McLeod and former CQU TAFE teacher Tim Wade in 2015

Jez said he often calls upon the training he received in the Willby’s Training Kitchens at CQU’s Rockhampton City Campus.

“(The English and Hospitality training) helped me to apply and gain knowledge and understanding towards my apprenticeship and career in hospitality,” he said.

“Despite of my condition, I have managed to work my path and settle into a career. As a permanent full-time chef this has been a great achievement for me.

“CQU TAFE gave me the opportunity to continue my passion in cooking, and all the support that I received from the teachers and instructors, helped me develop my confidence and skills.”

Jez encouraged others to not let disadvantage or disability hold them back from pursuing their goals.

“Focus on your abilities, make realistic goals and keep on trying and moving. Let not our present circumstances and incapabilities hinder our hope,” he said.

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