Apprenticeship in Cookery (1990)

Hospitality Teacher – Tasmanian Polytechnic, Owner of own catering business

Cooking is in Kimbra Townend’s blood. Her grandfather owned several bakeries, and her mother loved being creative in the kitchen with the young Kimbra at her side. In home economic classes, she was the envy of her fellow students “for not burning anything and everything I touched turned to gold,” she says.

It’s not surprising then, that Kimbra has built a successful career in cooking, and today teaches her trade to up and coming chefs at the Tasmanian Polytechnic.

After leaving school and before commencing any formal training, Kimbra got a job making all the cakes and desserts at a small café. She received a lot of compliments and this cemented her determination to pursue a career in cooking.
Finding an apprenticeship in Tasmania was not easy, so Kimbra tried Melbourne, and got work at the Mitcham Hotel in the patisserie section. She attended Box Hill Institute one day a week and thoroughly impressed her teachers. In fact, she has kept all of her books and training modules from the Institute, and sometimes brings them out to show her students!

Once she had completed her apprenticeship, Kimbra was employed in many different sections of the kitchen at a variety of establishments, including St Tropez (a French restaurant on Collins Street), Government House Tasmania, Drunken Admiral and Prossers on the Beach ( well-known seafood restaurants in Tasmania), and Wrest Point Casino as the Revolving restaurant chef and function chef.

Kimbra then decided to take her skills overseas to Switzerland and Canada. In Canada, she worked as chef de partie at glorious Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park, starting in the patisserie section. It was an incredible experience – the hotel employs 120 chefs over the summer and because of its great distance from Calgary, the chefs have to make sure they never get the quantities wrong when ordering.

When Kimbra returned from overseas, she contacted Drysdale College and expressed her interest in teaching. Six weeks later, they offered her a role as a teacher’s assistant in their training restaurant, followed by a full-time job teaching.

Kimbra has taught at the Drysdale for the past 14 years and loves “sharing the passion for the cooking and instilling that in the young students”. She runs her own catering business on the side and regularly works on projects with local chefs to keep up-to-date with industry.

Although Kimbra has quite literally had a finger in every pie, her great passion remains desserts. There is nothing she loves more than devising a sweet creation that not only tastes delicious but looks amazing too.