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NICI and Asuria create recipe for success as Indigenous job seekers enter Sydney’s top kitchens

3 minute read

While many of us may think we’re MasterChef’s, chances are we’d be on the chopping block if we were to enter Sydney’s top kitchens.


Three fledging Indigenous chefs with a flair for cooking have done just that though, supported into new roles as Apprentice Chefs with some of Sydney’s top restaurants thanks to Asuria’s partnership with the National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI) and our delivery of the Government’s jobactive and, Disability Employment Services (DES) programs.

After completing an intensive course, followed by a trial placement in a working kitchen, talented graduates Emmett and Rachel have taken up roles as Apprentice Chefs with highly regarded Sydney restaurants Alpha and The Pines under the guidance of distinguished Executive Chefs Peter Conistis and James Metcalfe. 

With the support of our dedicated Indigenous Employment Consultant, Debbie Spinks, Emmett, and Rachel were placed into the ‘NICI Skills for Success Program’, where they completed a Cert III Commercial Cookery, specially designed by the NICI.  

Following their graduation, each student then underwent a psychological assessment to evaluate their suitability for various kitchen environments before attending a trial placement with a suitable restaurant. 

Emmett and Rachel will now get the opportunity to learn and develop their skills under some of Sydney’s most gifted and experienced chefs, while preparing food for eager diners at several of the city’s finest restaurants. 

National Indigenous Culinary Institute CEO, Nathan Lovett, said: “It fills me with enormous pride and excitement to see our graduates set out on this exciting journey ahead of them, having already proved so much to themselves and their new employers. I’d like to thank each of the students for the dedication they’ve already shown, as well as our gratitude to Asuria for helping each of the graduates realise their hidden potential.” 

Debbie Spinks, Indigenous Employment Consultant at Asuria, says: “Each one of the NICI graduates is a shining example of just what Indigenous people can achieve when they are given the encouragement, support and opportunity to succeed in mainstream, skilled employment. The pathway to employment that NICI provides is simply amazing and at Asuria, we’re looking forward to helping even more Indigenous people set out on a similar path.” 

Emmett, Apprentice Chef at Alpha, added: “Having people motivate me on my journey returning to full-time work, whilst helping to prepare me for taking on an apprenticeship to become a qualified chef, made all the difference in me being successful. 

Now I get up at 6:30am, and I can’t wait to get into the kitchen and contribute in any way I can, whilst learning to cook with the best of them in the business.” 

All our graduates will have access to continued support from us and the NICI as they settle into their new and exciting roles. For further information on the NICI, see their website here.  

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