15 March 2018
A television celebrity chef has served up a special guest lecture for students of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s new Food, Nutrition and Menu Design subject.
My Kitchen Rules judge Colin Fassnidge shared his real-world knowledge about working in a commercial kitchen with about 10 USC Nutrition students and answered questions about how chefs and nutritionists could work more cooperatively.
His live presentation via Skype was displayed on a huge interactive screen in USC’s Collaboration Studio as part of an intensive course designed by USC academic and nutritionist Tara Leong to teach students how to create healthy food from scratch.
Ms Leong said the subject, which is run outside of standard semesters, would help students find work as consultants to develop new food products, or work with chefs to redesign restaurant menus to focus on more nutritional foods.
“From the graduates who did the four-week intensive course last year, some of them have already had job opportunities because of that,” said Ms Leong, who has had recipes featured in The Great Australian Cookbook. “Now they’re working with chefs in the field.”
Ms Leong met Mr Fassnidge, who owns Sydney gastro pub Banksia Bistro, through her social media channels, where she has a large presence with more than 70,000 followers.
“Colin was actually able to inspire students by telling them about the huge role they could play in the food industry,” Ms Leong said.
“He believes more nutritionists need to work alongside chefs to advise the industry on how to cater for food allergies and intolerances. Currently, a lot of the time, chefs do that themselves without the knowledge.”
Ms Leong said the Food, Nutrition and Menu Design subject took a holistic approach to nutrition, even teaching students about food writing, photography and how to create environmentally sustainable menus.
“It teaches them how to pull everything together in a practical way,” Ms Leong said. “They’re literally in a commercial kitchen at the university cooking almost every day of the course, so it’s really hands on.”
- Tom Snowdon