Visiting Vietnam for this year’s Taste of Australia, it made sense for KOTO to take advantage of Mr Luke Nguyen’s offer of presenting an information session at the Yen Vien Training Centre, and taking it one step further: having our trainees also cook for him.
Mr Luke—restaurateur, celebrity chef, author and documentary maker—was in Vietnam for this year’s Taste Australia, an Australian Government-run mix of official events and a wide variety of partner events in bars, restaurant and retail in Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City and central Vietnam.
The Australian Embassy contacted KOTO, mentioning that Mr Luke would be available for an information session with KOTO’s students on April 5. The date of his visit coincided with the final assessment of Class 11, and the ever-proactive Mr Tan recognised an opportunity for the trainees to include Mr Luke in their final assessment, and jumped on it.
For their assessment, our trainees were responsible for designing the lunch menu, prepping and cooking the food, setting up the training room to replicate as restaurant and setting the table, and full restaurant service. Front of house trainees welcomed Mr Luke and KOTO staff and guests with aperitifs and canapes, before taking food and drink orders.
Mr Luke was impressed with not only the cooking skills and the presentation of the food, but also with the front of house service. He was extremely interested in the trainees and KOTO, asking questions about their backgrounds and the training program, and even checked out trainees cooking in the kitchen.
Tucking into his stuffed squid, Mr Luke said, ‘If I was served this in a restaurant, I’d be pretty happy.’
After finishing his lunch, he went on to talk to the trainees about his career in hospitality and his love for Vietnam. To say trainees were inspired by Mr Luke was an understatement, and all expressed what an honour it was for him to visit KOTO.
We look forward to Mr Luke being a regular visitor, and perhaps hiring some of our graduates in his new restaurant in Saigon!