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Top Marx NMIT apprentice chef wins trip to Paris

22 Mar 2013

Recent NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) Certificate III in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery) graduate Beth Candy has been awarded a Thierry Marx Career Development award.

Beth, 25, from Coburg, receives return airfares to France, one month's accommodation, $1500 spending money and, most significantly, a month working with two star Michelin chef Thierry Marx at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Paris. A second career development award was won by Melanie Sheard, a third year apprentice from Federation Square's ZINC.
“To win was pretty overwhelming,” Beth says. “I can't wait just to look around Paris and explore, see the produce and get involved in the food culture. Working at such a large hotel is going to be a great experience.”

The award adds to Beth's recent cookery success. In May 2012 she won the Executive Chefs Association's Les Toques Blanches Award for Excellence. The award comprises a $6000 international culinary training package including airfares, accommodation and spending money. For the Les Toques Blanches Award, Beth will work at Howard's House Hotel near Salisbury, a Michelin star rated establishment set in bucolic English countryside. She will combine her two prizes into one trip, leaving 2 August for Paris before travelling to the UK.

Currently Beth is working as a third year apprentice at the RACV City Club in Melbourne, a five-star venue where 80 chefs work in five kitchens preparing the club's renowned food. Beth is appreciative to RACV's chefs and NMIT's teachers for supporting of her cooking.

“RACV's chefs have helped train me in and out of working hours, as well as to order special foods to practice on. NMIT's teachers have been really supportive too, Urs Reusser, John Hand, Greg Payne and Andrew Shepherd all helped me train for the competitions.”

The ten finalists for the Thierry Marx Career Development Award were assessed by a panel of three judges on technical ability and interpersonal skills including attitude, passion, goals and aspirations. Competing apprentices were also required to provide two original recipes featuring red meat as part of their written submission, with shortlisted apprentices cooking their recipes for assessment at the Crown Culinarium.

“I think my food utilised the ingredients effectively and in a bit of a different way. For my braised lamb dish, I wrapped lamb neck in a lamb flap and cooked it at 65 degrees for 12 hours to make it tender and get the most out of the flavours, the outside was a crisp contrast to the tender meat inside.”

In Paris, Beth will be working five days a week with the Mandarin Oriental's food and beverage team. “The idea is to get involved with everyone in the kitchen, take notes, do a photo diary, collect recipes and see how the kitchen operates - everything from preparation to service. It will be great to meet and work with Thierry Marx.”

Thierry Marx, one of France's most famous chefs, is well-known for his innovative cooking. Thierry was awarded his first Michelin star in 1988 at Roc en Val, a second at Cheval Blanc in 1991 and then held two Michelin stars at Chateau Cordeillan-Bages for over a decade. In 2006 he was named Chef of the Year by Gault & Millau and by Le Chef magazine.

Thierry is currently Culinary Director at Mandarin Oriental, where he supervises the hotel's two restaurants, bar, cake shop and catering operations. In 2012 one of the Mandarin's restaurants 'Tailor-made by Thierry Marx' was awarded two Michelin stars.

Beth also has plenty of cooking experience awaiting her in England too. “Howard's House Hotel is out in the countryside and I'll be there in hunting season, so there will be a lot of produce that I've never worked with before. The best thing is that I will get the opportunity to do everything, preparing mains, desserts, entrees and salads.”

Beth is keen to seize the opportunities her trip will bring. “It is great to be able to work in as many kitchens as you can, to see how they operate - it helps you develop your own style and pick up different ideas you can utilise in the future. One day I'd like to run a restaurant, to be in charge of a kitchen, and I want to understand everything from taking on apprentices to ordering produce.”

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NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.