TV chefs send young Aussie men into school kitchens

Posted by Josette Dunn on 17th May 2010

Male students at Victorian Government schools are flocking to kitchens in record numbers, inspired by the popularity of MasterChef-style TV programs.Launching Education Week at Footscray City College today, Acting Premier Rob Hulls joined Education Minister Bronwyn Pike, MasterChef Australia finalist Chris Badenoch and year 11 and 12 hospitality students for a cooking challenge in the school’s brand new industrial kitchen.

Mr Hulls said the popularity of television cooking had resulted in a surge of senior male students studying hospitality training at school.

“There has been a sharp rise in the number of male students studying food and cooking as part of their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) studies,” Mr Hulls said.

“About 600 more males are studying Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Hospitality this year compared to 2008.

“The VCE VET Hospitality program is providing students with the training and skills they need for careers in commercial cookery and is another way the world-class Victorian education system is preparing students for future success across a range of careers.

“Male students are no longer just nailing timber and welding metal – they’re sifting flour and whipping cream.

“There’s no doubt the rise in popularity of TV cooking programs such as MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules have contributed to the increase, and so has our commitment to providing schools with state-of-the-art facilities.”

Interim 2010 enrolment figures show there are around 2200 male VCE VET Hospitality students this year – up from around 1600 in 2008. Female enrolments have increased from over 3300 in 2008 to more than 3600 this year.

Ms Pike said students who complete the course obtain a nationally recognised Certificate II in Hospitality – which can help carve out a successful career after school.

“TV cooking programs are demonstrating to students that VCE hospitality training can be the first ingredient of a successful and challenging career. Students at Footscray City College are enjoying the benefits of a school kitchen similar in quality to those in Victoria’s top restaurants.”

Footscray City College principal Maria Bawden said was surprised by the sudden surge of male students interested in cooking classes.

“Students are watching the TV programs and realising that studying VCE VET Hospitality can open up a number of pathways,” she said.