A NETWORKING dinner at the Institute of TAFE Illawarra Bega campus on Wednesday night was an opportunity to show off the new-look Barracks Restaurant.
The dinner was the first function to be held since the $300,000 expansion of the restaurant, kitchen and associated facilities was completed at the Tourism and Hospitality section of the Bega campus.
Welcoming the diners that included TAFE staff and representatives from various employment and training agencies was district operations manager for Illawarra TAFE South Coast region Paul Goodwin, who said the dinner was a chance for TAFE to showcase both its facilities and the talents of its staff and students.
He noted that TAFE cuts had been in the news a lot lately, but that the organisation was still going strong and producing some wonderfully talented graduates, including the 16 Certificate III Commercial Cookery students responsible for Wednesday night’s dinner.
Making sure all the guests were happy out front were 17 students from the Food and Beveridge section, some of whom had only been on campus for as little as three weeks.
Head teacher of Tourism and Hospitality at the Bega Campus Deirdre Jory said there had been an influx of 34 new commercial cookery students this year as well as a healthy class in the Food and Beverage section.
And perhaps surprisingly given the economic climate, there was currently great demand for qualified chefs and wait staff from local restaurants and cafes.
“We are all about teaching kids the finer skills and lot of the etiquette seems to have been lost from the dining experience these days,” Ms Jory said.
These students were now able to enjoy the renovated and expanded hospitality facilities, including the new-look front of house, expanded store room, office space and laundry and renovated kitchen.
For the record and for those that missed out, the absolutely delicious dinner had an Asian buffet theme with entrees including duck pancakes, steamed pork buns and scallop with peanut nam jim, while the main courses were served in wooden boats and included panko crumbed whiting with Asian slaw and teriyaki chicken with soba noodles.
The Barracks Restaurant is open to the public every Wednesday night but bookings on 6492 9700 are essential.
In addition to the big Industry Night held each year, the hospitality section is also gearing up to host the Australian National University students, who come to Bega each year to experience rural medicine, and who will be served up a dinner with a focus on local and regional produce.
* For a gallery of photos from the Barracks Restaurant opening, visit http://www.begadistrictnews.com.au/story/1334551/new-look-barracks-restaurant-opening/?cs=511