After 37 years in the hospitality industry Amanda Smith’s enthusiasm for her profession is undimmed and her star remains shining brightly.
After completing her cookery apprenticeship at William Angliss College (now William Angliss Insitute) in Melbourne in 1980 she took her first steps to a brilliant career in food.
Amanda has worked in London, run her own business, taught at TAFE, been a consultant chef and was the 2011 Australian Training Awards VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year. She is now a driving force behind the Margaret River hospitality industry in Western Australia.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” said Amanda. “I’ve never had a job out of the industry and while it could be said that I’m in the ultimate phase of my career, I’m still teaching and loving it. Supporting farmers, utilising local produce and ensuring beautiful dishes are sent out to customers is what motivates me and keeps me going.”
After working as a chef for several years, Amanda is now devoting herself to teaching at South Regional TAFE (Margaret River Capus). She has spearheaded a program entitled ‘Paddock to Plate’ for students and events such as 'Gather & Feast'. Both are designed to showcase the farmers’ produce and ensure students know the origins of the food they cook.
“With 'Paddock to Plate', I want students to visit the farms and the primary producers, to see the olives being pressed, the truffles being dug up and the marron being harvested. It’s professional development done in a different way,” she said.
Outside of teaching Amanda organises and works with students for events such as 'Truffle Kerfuffle' and 'Gourmet Escape' and is a Australian Culinary Federation judge for the WA Apprentice of the Year Awards and as a trainer/mentor with Worldskills Australia competitions.
As a member of the VET Alumni, Amanda says she is passionate about giving back to the industry and giving students a safe environment to experiment and push themselves.
“I left school after Year 11 and found my own way in life with an Australian Apprenticeship. Finishing Year 12 is not for everyone and I would thoroughly recommend a VET pathway," said Amanda.
“For me, VET laid the foundation for a great career.I still get a real kick out of looking at new ways of engaging students, inventing programs and nurturing people through food. I feel like my career is still a work in progress and I look forward to what every day brings."