Glenn Kealy, GOTAFE Wangaratta Hospitality Trainer talks about his passion for teaching and his experience in hospitality that spans almost 35 years. “I love mentoring my students, they love the way I teach and in my 14th year of teaching I am still reinventing myself and what I teach, I am constantly adjusting to my customer’s needs, but this time it’s not a menu it’s a style of teaching,” said Glenn.
“The best part of my job is guiding, facilitating and mentoring my students to be the best chefs they can be, if they enjoy class and go on to succeed in the industry then I know I am doing my job.
“I bring passion, a strong work ethic and experience to teaching every day.
“It can be exhausting, most teachers will empathise with me, every time you teach, you are on show, it’s a performance, and you must be engaging, be real and be informative every time you teach.
“I still second guess myself and question whether my skills and experience are enough to teach, but deep down I know they are. And every now and then I get a thank you email or card or just a simple face to face thank you and I realise how much I have to offer and how much I have passed on.
“And sometimes it is my job to keep the passion alive for students, being an apprentice isn’t easy, it is hard work, long and odd hours and you don’t always get to see the joy your creation brings to your customers.
“I started out as a 16 year old trainee chef in my hometown of Harvey in Western Australia, so I know what it is like to start out in the industry.
“The Wagon Wheels Motel and the Harvey Hotel taught me a bit of everything of the industry as a whole.
“After that I worked in a number of big hotels on the Gold Coast including the Ramada Hotel, then back to Western Australia to work at the newly built Cable Beach Club in Broome.
“The Cable Beach Club was my first taste of what good food was all about, it was high quality food and high quality service, and it was a standout in my early career.
“At the Club I worked with international chefs who were handpicked by Lord (Alistair) McAlpine.
“I always felt like a bit of a country kid playing with the big boys but with hard work and passion I felt like I earnt my stripes.
“We had our preparation stations, our specialities if you like and I was amongst chefs from Italy, France, South African and England, we were expected to produce the highest standard for our domestic and international guests.
“After that I travelled overseas working in a variety kitchens for a variety of organisations, including P&O Ridge View Lodge that would cater and board the homeless just outside of London, and The Thistle Hotel chain in Aberdeen Scotland.
“All these experiences and overseas travelling taught me how to meet different customers’ needs which help me now as a teacher.
“Back in Australia at the age of 24 I was setting up a tavern restaurant called Sandy Cove in Mandurah south of Perth, then as a chef at the well-known and award winning Subiaco Hotel, then moving to Melbourne I worked in Melbourne at The Snail and Bottle Restaurant at the Law Institute of Victoria then moving to the North East I worked locally at King River Café, Spotless in Wodonga and now as a trainer at GOTAFE in Wangaratta.
“My students tell me they have to listen to me because I keep them guessing, they never know what is coming next, for me that’s a great compliment.”