TAFE Queensland students Alec Stemmler and Anne Park have rubbed shoulders with famous TV chef Hiroyuki Sakai at his restaurant, La Rochelle, in Japan.

Alec Stemmler and Anne Park have recently returned from a one-week work experience trip to Japan after winning a TAFE Queensland Iron Chef Experience Competition.

The pair travelled to Tokyo to complete placement at Chef Sakai's restaurant, La Rochelle, to learn the art of French food with a Japanese twist.

For Anne, who enjoys creating good memories with delicious food, the trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“We worked alongside experienced executive and sous chefs at La Rochelle, right in the heart of Tokyo,” said Anne.

“I learned a variety of skills needed for fine dining as well as new ways to plate food,” she said.

Twenty-one-year-old Alec, who comes from a family of chefs, said the visit was not only incredible but also a great experience to see different aspects of the hospitality industry.

“If you told me at the beginning of my apprenticeship that I’d get the chance to meet Chef Sakai I would never have believed you!” he said.

“It was good to experience working in another kitchen and to see how they operate. I got to do a lot of detailed prep work, including preparing some vegetables which I’d never seen before,” he said.

Outside of their work experience Alec and Anne also got to experience broader Japanese culture, including a trip a Kitchen Street, as well as an exciting trip to Disneyland.

"I most enjoyed the food in Japan - I ate lots of Japanese food after work and even drank Japanese craft beers," said Anne.

However, their last day at the restaurant was a highlight of the trip.

“The staff at La Rochelle cooked us lunch, it was eight courses and the whole meal was amazing, everything tasted delicious,” said Alec.

This international trip is just one of many opportunities available* to TAFE Queensland students. Anne said that all students should take advantage of any opportunity to network internationally, learn new things, and increase their skills.

“I highly recommend participating in competitions and internships and gaining some international experience by visiting other countries,” she said.




*eligibility conditions apply.

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