Sam Steward is a passionate apprentice chef from Yass, New South Wales. After dabbling in career options, Sam found it exhausting and anything but exciting.
The high stress of university life drive him towards the kitchen, where he found himself spending most of his time as a student. No. 10 Restaurant + Bar was able to encourage Sam to pursue his true passion of cooking, and he is now one of the most vibrant members of our team.
We had the chance to speak to Sam about his experiences.
Have you always lived in Canberra?
I grew up and went to school in Yass, which is about 50 kilometres outside of Canberra. I moved to Canberra when I was fifteen for high school and have lived here ever since.
What sparked your passion for cooking?
Family gatherings always meant lots of food in my family. Everyone was encouraged to contribute, so I was always in the kitchen from a young age. The smell of garlic sauteing in olive oil is an early memory for me.
When did you decide you wanted to make a career as a chef?
I was doing a bachelor's degree at the University of Canberra, and was coming to the end of my second year of studies. I was worried how my degree would relate to a job when I finished, and I was gradually cooking more and more in my free time instead of studying. I decided to change my focus to food, and chose to retrain as an adult apprentice chef.
How did you get your foot in the door in the hospitality industry?
I asked about an apprenticeship at a new cafe that opened in my area, and I worked there as an apprentice chef for 16 months.
What have been some of the biggest challenges and rewards you have faced in your career so far?
I’ve only been cooking for a couple of years, and I quickly learned that cooking is a tough gig. Long hours, combined with a tough working culture at the cafe really took its toll. I left the café, and was considering going back to university to finish my degree.
In the meantime, I began work with No. 10 Restaurant + Bar, and it really opened my eyes to what I love about the industry. No. 10 Restaurant + Bar has shown me that cooking delicious food can be fun and exciting, and that there are real rewards for working in hospitality if you remain persistent.
How has No. 10 Restaurant + Bar helped you reconnect with your passion for cooking?
When you work with a team of people who come into work excited and full of energy, it definitely picks you up and makes you care about what you’re doing.
Working under Head Chef Duncan Winter, I’ve learned to respect the ingredients that we work with. Offering a seasonal menu and utilising modern cooking techniques means that you can get the best out of your ingredients. Duncan is always coming up with dishes and specials that are fresh and relevant.
What have you enjoyed most so far about being an apprentice for No. 10 Restaurant + Bar?
Working with the other apprentices is always great fun. You spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so it’s a real bonus when you work with people that share your passion and commitment.
Chef Duncan goes that extra mile to make sure that we’re all learning the practical skills we will need when we become chefs ourselves. My time spent in the kitchen at No. 10 Restaurant + bar continues to be an invaluable learning experience.
Come in and taste the new menu for yourself today. Simply call us on (02) 6108 4958 or visit the contact us page here to book your table.