Indigenous chef step into the kitchen after graduating from the National Indigenous Culinary Institute

Miranda's Rachel Cunningham has taken up a position as an apprentice chef at Cronulla's upscale The Pines restaurant after graduating from the National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI).

She was one of three Indigenous chefs who have taken their first steps towards culinary careers thanks to a program that helps them gain the skills needed for success.

Following an intensive course, followed by a trial placement in a working kitchen, the graduates won positions in some of Sydney's most highly regarded restaurants under the tutelage of their executive chefs.

The NICI Skills for Success Program is run with the support of leading employment services provider Asuria.

The budding chefs took part in a Certificate III Commercial Cookery course especially designed by NICI to develop key skills and understanding needed to succeed in Sydney's most demanding kitchens.

Asuria's Indigenous employment consultant Debbie Spinks and NICI chief executive Nathan Lovett guided the participants through the comprehensive program.

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

Each apprentice chef will now get the opportunity to learn and develop their skills under the tutelage of some of Sydney's most talented and experienced chefs, while preparing food for discerning diners at several of the city's finest restaurants.

Mr Lovett said he was filled with enormous pride and excitement to see the graduates set out on this exciting journey ahead, 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," he said.

Ms Spinks said each graduate was a shining example of what Indigenous people could achieve when given 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," she said

The graduates will continue to receive support and guidance from both NICI and Asuria as they settle into their new careers.

A new intake of students for the NICI Skills for Success Program will commence on May 22.

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