Interview with Chef Phil Parsons, Cook For Your Career

If you’re an Australian who dreams of becoming a professional chef, the HOSTPLUS Cook For Your Career competition gives you the chance to win an apprenticeship at one of Australia’s leading restaurants. Entries close at midnight AEST on Monday 20 February.

I recently had a chat with chef Phil Parsons of Deco Restaurant, at the Raffles Hotel in Applecross. As part of Cook For Your Career, Phil is the mentor chef for WA and there’s a full apprenticeship at Deco up for grabs.

What qualities make a good apprentice?
You can see their passion when they talk about food. They usually cook a lot at home for their family, and many are inspired by their mum. In the kitchen, they’re keen to learn, will give anything a go, and are not afraid of hard work.

What can an aspiring chef expect from his or her apprenticeship at Deco?
He or she will get to work across our two kitchens, upstairs and downstairs, for our fine dining a la carte menu and our lounge bar. They’ll get the opportunity to work with top-quality fresh seafood. One of our team goes to market to bid on the best whole fish, marron, crabs and so on. Our restaurant features a wide spectrum of fresh seafood you probably don’t find at many places in Perth. We’re quite spoilt with all the great produce available to us in WA.

Chef Phil Parsons, Deco Restaurant, Raffles Hotel

Chef Phil Parsons, Deco Restaurant, Raffles Hotel

What made you want to become a chef?
I always had a passion for food. My mum did a lot of baking and cooking when I was a kid, and I always used to help her.

What made you decide to get involved with Cook For Your Career?
I’m always keen to find talented and passionate apprentices and help promote cooking as a profession. The skills shortage can make it hard to find good people, so competitions like this are great for encouraging people to consider a career as a chef.

What do you think of the rise in popularity of reality cooking shows such as Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules?
I think it’s always good to encourage people to cook. But some of these programmes may not show how much hard work it really is to work your way through an apprenticeship. There are great rewards if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Any advice for anyone thinking about entering Cook For Your Career?
Just have a go and take that first step, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Enter Cook For Your Career

Cook For Your Career logoFor full details, terms and conditions and to enter, visit Entries close at midnight Monday 20 February 2012.

Follow C4YC on Twitter or like C4YC’s Facebook page to stay up-to-date with the progress of Cook For Your Career.

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