Recipe for student success

Published 8:00am 17 May 2023

Recipe for student success
Words by Kylie Knight

The Lakes College has been shortlisted as an Excellence Awardee in the 2023 Australian Education Awards for Best Co-Curricular Program.

The annual awards showcase Australia’s top-performing schools, principals, department heads and teachers for outstanding achievements and work which is making a difference to the lives of students.

The Lakes College Culinary Club has been shortlisted in the Best Co-Curricular Program category.

Growing from a 12-student team to a 30 students, the club has proven itself at college events and is also being engaged by outside organisations for catering.

It gives students an opportunity to learn the importance of community service, build real-world skills and develop a mature and professional work ethic.

Culinary Club involves students aged 11 to 18 years preparing complex six-course degustation dinners through to catering for college events with more than 500 guests.

Year 7 student Chloe says she enjoys the catering side of it, learning much about preparing food.

“I think it is the best co-curricular activity because it teaches you everyday skills you need to know in a fun way and with your friends,” she says.

Fellow Year 7 student Emily loves being involved because of the connections she’s been able to make, “even when it is crazy busy – you still get a smile from the team”.

As the program grows, it is broadening the range of training on offer including barista and Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate courses.

Sharing knowledge

The club’s biggest achievement is reaching a rotation of students, enabling older and more experienced members to be involved in the training, management and supervision of the new students signing up to the program.

The Lakes College Principal Nicole Gregory says: “The culinary arts at The Lakes College is a jewel in our TLC Beyond program. It engages our students in a cross-pollination of science, art, and food technology.

“It is led by Head Chef Joel McCulla. Joel sees our students not only grow in their understanding of the experience of food and its service, but he seeks to develop discipline and shared responsibility as our students learn that culinary success rests with the whole team."

The award winners will be announced at a gala event in Sydney on Friday, August 11. For more information about the awards and to view the full list of award recipients, visit the website

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