Esra Kullu sees a meal as much more than the sum of its ingredients. As an apprentice, she believes each new plate is an opportunity to learn. As an aspiring pastry chef, she views each treat as a chance to explore her creativity.
The second-year apprentice pastry chef is in the right place to develop her culinary passions. The Holmesglen kitchen has provided Esra with a canvass to explore her patisserie interests.
"The most enjoyable thing about being an aspiring chef is the creative side of it. I love trying new techniques, designs, flavour combinations; and even failing at times so you can do better next time you try," she says.
If you love what you're doing, the effort will always match. In addition to her apprenticeship, Esra has completed extra patisserie units at the Waverley campus. While effort comes from enthusiasm, it is reward that comes from effort. Esra was presented with the Victorian Apprentice Pastry Chef of the Year accolade at the 2017 Baking Association of Australia Excellence in Baking competition. She will now compete in a national competition to be held in Melbourne.
"My Holmesglen teachers and pastry chefs at work helped me tremendously in my preparation."
While the competition benefited her professional development, the chance to perform under industry conditions helped reinforce what she has learned on campus.
"One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that the process you follow in creating baked goods is as important as your end product," she says.
Esra doesn't consider learning as containing a finishing line. An opportunity is simply something to be taken. Prior to her award win, she also received the Simplot Scholarship, as part of the 2017 Holmesglen Hospitality Awards Ceremony (pictured above). The grant has supported Esra with her course fees and study materials, and given her motivation to continue to pursue her craft.
Hospitality is a universal field, with career streams not just confined to local kitchens. Esra sees an education as the best pathway to a career, and a stable career as her best chance to receive new experiences.
"After finishing my apprenticeship, I'd like to work in an environment where I can build on my patisserie skills and eventually be able to work in hotel kitchens. My dream is to travel around the world and gain experience in as many kitchens as I can."