Gabriel Wong studied a Commercial Cookery Certification III at TAFE Gold Coast & TAFE Brisbane and worked in the hotel and hospitality industry for the better part of 10 years before pivoting to a career in finance.
What was the highlight of your experience living in Queensland?
South Bank is world class and the TAFE campus is a stone’s throw from the CBD. It is vibrant, friendly, tropical. Night life is amazing, as well as [it being] a safe city to walk home in at night.
How has your experience in Queensland helped you with your career?
Oh boy, I picked up most of my life skills both at TAFE and in my workplace training at The Sebel on the corner of Albert and Charlotte St, Brisbane City. More than learning about the technical skills in cooking, it is the optimism that my instructors have instilled in me that I have carried with me in my career.
Did you work or undertake projects with employers or industry groups during your studies? If yes, how did this experience benefit your career?
The Sebel hosted the Chinese Embassy G7 Summit in Brisbane 2014. Learning how to cater to corporate clients has given me the confidence to step up the quality in delivering world class service.
Can you share your student journey (why did you decide to study what you studied and why did you decide to study in Queensland)?
I started working as a dishwasher in a hotel at Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast. From there, I moved around several hospitality venues, until the owners of Surfers and Sand Café offered to take me on as an apprentice chef. That is when I signed up to the Commercial Cookery Certificate III. One year into my apprenticeship, I moved to The Sebel in Brisbane. I decided to study in Queensland because of how vibrant Brisbane city is and the opportunities that comes with it.
What career-advice would you give to give future students thinking about studying in Queensland?
Dream big. Look for the opportunities that are right for you. Ask lots of questions and do not accept the status quo.
What's the easiest way to develop a social life in Queensland?
I stayed in the Urbanest South Bank on campus. It is a fantastic way to meet local and international students from other subject areas. I had some of the best night outs in Brisbane with friends made at the international hostel.
What are you doing now in your career?
I am interviewing for an investment banking position in Auckland, New Zealand this week.
Why did you decide to follow your chosen career path?
Learning does not stop nor is bound by what you studied at TAFE. It is only a steppingstone to discovering your passion and finding the right opportunity that suits you.
Can you share any ongoing ties to Queensland?
My parents decided to relocate to Queensland after I made the move there.
Anything else you would like to share about your experience studying in Queensland?
During my apprenticeship, I learnt the tricks of the trade from a Michelin Star Chef from the UK, an executive chef from Sheraton that owns enough vintage whisky to open his own bar, a head chef from Hilton hotels, a hipster Sous Chef, and a head chef that got away with cooking scallops in the microwave.
What would be most beneficial for you now in terms of engagement and support from your university etc?
The opportunity to create a scholarship for outstanding apprentice chefs participating in the Commercial Cookery III Certificate program.