Day 3 in Melbourne
The day started with a morning visit to the William Angliss Institute, the largest hospitality school in Melbourne. Here they teach all of the culinary programs, baking, patisserie, confectionary, butchery, and a host of tourism and hospitality programs and degrees.
It was particularly interesting in talking with our hosts at the school to see how they have adapted from being a purely vocational institution in the past to now working very closely with Industry, and have developed a great capacity to deliver custom training packages for employers in any area of the hospitality fields, which are all linked to further options within the national qualifications framework. This is one of the main reasons we are visiting Australia, to see how we can develop those sorts of relationships in Canada in relation to formal training and credentials.
Lunch was served in one of the three restaurants on site, prepared by second term culinary students. I had a starter of duck confit and chorizo ravioli served in a flavourful broth with a garnish of fennel and orange salad. For a main course, I had ordered the crisp spatchcock, (a small guinea hen) and couscous, which was quite delicious as well. I indulged in the chocolate trio for dessert, also very well executed, especially when you consider it is being prepared by students who have been in a program for less than a year.
One program they have instigated that has been very successful had been their Great Chef program, where they have the top chefs from Melbourne come in to prepare 2 dinners with each class of finishing students. What a great opportunity to build relationships, and also for the chefs to recruit directly from the school.
Following the afternoon’s work in developing our Canadian program standards, we decided to take an evening stroll across the river to Southbank and find somewhere to dine there. Very much the way Vancouver’s waterfront has evolved, the Southbank and Docklands areas feature a broad promenade packed with restaurants, street performers, and a number of shops and services.
On a Friday night, the place was bustling, so we settled into a French inspired bistro for dinner. We started with two appetizers, a carpaccio of kangaroo, and a twice baked goat cheese soufflé. The carpaccio was very nice, the kangaroo meat sweet and tender, and garnished with horseradish cream, olive oil, and micro greens. The soufflé was equally nice, with a sweet corn and pickled ginger salsa, as well as a spoon of fresh chevre on top.
The main courses took a while to arrive, and when they finally did with an apolpgy from our server, they were less than perfect. My tuna was cooked fine, but it was a little bland, and my dining companions had similar stories about their choices, a rack of lamb that was somewhat tough, and the Morton Bay bugs (a type of crustacean similar to a spiny lobster) were a bit mushy. We ordered dessert, enjoying the company and the entertainment on the promenade, and were pleased with the “assiette”, a tasting of crème brulee, chocolate brownie, and summer pudding.
After dinner, we took a nice stroll back along Flinders street, and spied a tapas bar I had on my list to check out later, so noted its location for a dinner later in our stay.
After a cleansing ale in the hotel bar, we retired for the evening, as we had much planned for the weekend to come.