Apprenticeship Certificate: Cooking

Former Box Hill Institute student Chris Rendell has certainly taken on the world with his culinary skills. These days he is highly acclaimed for his work at New York’s Double Crown restaurant and recently Chris appeared on US TV screens as part of the winning team on Iron Chef America.

Chris did a cooking apprenticeship at Box Hill Institute in 1993, where he was voted Apprentice of the Year, and was a classmate of celebrity chef Tobie Puttock. Since then, the world has certainly been Chris’ oyster. He first high profile restaurant was Carmine’s in Melbourne, before he took his burgeoning reputation to Sydney and then to London, working at The Sugar Club and the Mews of Mayfair.

From there it was across the Atlantic to New York, where Chris began working at Public, and then at Double Crown as Chef de Cuisine. It was at Public that Chris worked with the team who would eventually take on the iconic Iron Chef America: “I had just returned to New York to open Double Crown. At the time I was working at our other restaurant Public (where I had previously opened a few years back) and the Executive Chef Brad Farmerie had been invited to participate in Iron Chef America. So he had asked me if I would like to join him and ‘head to battle in kitchen stadium!”
Chris and the team recorded the show back in June 2008, and then had to be silent until it was aired on the Food Network. And the experience was well worth relating: “The start of the show is very intimidating. But once you hear the cry of the chairman, your kitchen personality takes over and you mind kicks into gear. The cooking part is filmed in one hour, and once the secret ingredient is revealed there are no breaks, no re-takes or re-shots. It is a solid hour of cooking. You definitely learn the best use of time as it disappears very quickly especially when you are battling against the clock.”
Since the show aired, Chris and the team have certainly noticed the response: “We have had everyone from the guy down the street to Drew Barrymore coming in to taste the success from kitchen stadium!”

Chris’ journey has certainly taken him around the world, yet he is still willing to offer his time to the Institute whenever he is in Melbourne. It’s a mark of his character and a reminder of where that journey all started.