The first and only woman to date to win “Mondial des chefs d’autogestion”, a biennial culinary competition held in Paris.
Amanda Young has the highest accolades as a top patissier and over the past several year Amanda has dedicated her time training patisserie students at the Australia-Pacific Technical College’s (APTC) Namaka campus in Fiji.
APTC is funded by the Australian Government and managed through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). It is a job l love, teaching the future pastry chefs of the South Pacific. Our campus is in Namaka, Fiji with students attending from not only Fiji but also PNG, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Kirribati, Tonga, Nauru, and Tuvalu.
It is a wonderful opportunity to pass on my knowledge and skills to a very thirsty audience. I enjoy teaching others to unleash their creativity. I use traditional and modern techniques to demonstrate how important good patisserie skills are. I want standards to be at world level and I want the standards to be maintained after my departure from here. The students come from diverse backgrounds. I’ve taught school teachers, pastry chefs from 5-star resorts, and bakers wanting to up skill into the area of patisserie.
The course broadens the student’s employment opportunities. We’ve had students gaining employment in big resorts in Dubai, New Zealand, Cook Islands and locally students have moved along in the hierarchy of the kitchen. Another worthwhile teaching aspect of the project is that each trainer mentors a National Tutor, a local from the industry who has the capability to carry on the training in the expat trainer’s absence. I have been fortunate to have Alisi Delai working alongside me, the exchange of skills and cultural knowledge has been immeasurable and of great benefit to the students in our course.
There are many challenges in working in this location on this project. Ingredients can be difficult to source and we must contend with the natural hazards that can plague Fiji such as floods and cyclones. Often, we have power failures and a lack of water at the college. I must rely on my ability to be flexible and with my flexibility and the amazing resilience of the students we overcome these challenges and make them work in our favour.
l encourage the use of local ingredients especially in the area of fruit and vegetable, for example our Danish pastries are made with fresh pineapple, bananas and local cumquats. It’s wonderful to walk across the street to the local market and adapt the in-season fruit and vegetables to learning outcomes for students!
My advice to young people in the industry is.
Be humble, study and work hard and keep researching what other people do in the world as our industry is very changeable.
Keep loyal and practise what you believe in to maintain standards.
Enjoy the travel that can come with being a patissier, patisserie belongs to every country so there’s much to explore.