Cooking up a storm in NAIDOC Week

Young Eurobodalla TAFE NSW graduate and ambassador Luke Nolan is leading the way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to embrace their unique food culture as we celebrate NAIDOC Week.

With a love of local, sustainable products, Mr Nolan has strong associations with his cultural heritage. His passion to infuse his culinary “paddock to plate” initiatives and incorporate the use of bush tucker will define him as a leader in the hospitality industry and his community.

Mr Nolan recently received the coveted TAFE NSW Illawarra Student of the Year award, along with the TAFE NSW Illawarra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year and the Culinary Skills and Hospitality Student award. He completed Certificate III in Commercial Cookery in 2016 and is working towards owning a restaurant.

Now working at The Heritage Bakery in Milton, Mr Nolan is ecstatic with his awards and is well on the way to achieving his foodie dreams.

“It makes me feel so happy to get these awards. It’s showing me that I made the right career choice,” Mr Nolan said.

“I’ve learned heaps from TAFE. I barely knew how to use a knife in the beginning. When I arrived at TAFE on my first day, I saw steam coming out of pots and people moving around the kitchen. I was thrown into this new environment and met different people, but I felt so comfortable,” he said.

Mr Nolan has a great appreciation of achievement through learning after recognising his life goals at such an early stage of his career.

“The more I’m learning, the more motivated I am to become a top chef one day,” Mr Nolan said.

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager, Kerry Penton, is inspired by Mr Nolan’s tenacity and determination.

“Luke is an outstanding ambassador for the culinary industry and his cultural heritage,” Ms Penton said.

“His success is testament to the quality of training offered at TAFE NSW to ensure students get the jobs of today and careers for the future,” she said.

TAFE NSW Commercial Cookery teacher Ian Faust recalls Mr Nolan’s dedication to his study.

“Luke was always extremely studious and dedicated, he tried super hard in everything he did,” Mr Faust said. “His confidence was quite low when he first came to us. It was great to see the transformation he made into a very competent, confident chef in the kitchen.”

TAFE NSW is Australia’s largest training and education provider with more than 500,000 enrolments and 1,200 courses. As an education innovator, we’re focused on shaping the future through state-of-the-art facilities, systems, technology and teachers. Our graduates are equipped for the jobs of today and the careers of the future.