A patisserie prodigy on the rise
Mary George dreams of becoming one of the best pastry chefs in the world, and she is well on her way! Winning gold at WorldSkills Australia, she joined Australia’s elite team – the Skills Squad – and represented Australia in WorldSkills International Competition in Abu Dhabi.
What excites you about culinary arts?
What I love most about this industry is how creative you can be in it. You can express who you are as person through the food you create every day. What I also love about this industry is the lifelong learning and personal growth, as well as career opportunities to travel the world and work internationally.
What attracted you to Le Cordon Bleu Sydney?
I was born in Sydney Australia, but my ethnic background is Assyrian. My parents were born in Iraq and moved to Sydney to begin a new life. From the age of 13 I knew I wanted to be a pastry chef, so I started reading MasterChef magazines and all the different hospitality magazines. That’s where I stumbled across a Le Cordon Bleu advertisement which inspired me so much that I hung it on my wall. It became my dream to study at Le Cordon Bleu, so I studied a Diplôme de Pâtisserie (SIT31016 Certificate III in Patisserie) at Le Cordon Bleu Sydney, graduating in 2016.
What did you enjoy most at Le Cordon Bleu Australia?
Every practical lesson was the best, I was always so excited to watch the demonstration and be able to cook it myself then present it to the chef. I also really enjoyed doing the final practical assessments - they were challenging, but they made me grow and acquire many new skills. My work industry (WIL) placement was with Adriano Zumbo - an Australian pâtissier and TV chef on MasterChef - which, luckily for me, turned into a full-time job as a Pastry Chef.
After my Le Cordon Bleu campus tour, I instantly knew it was where I wanted to study. I remember how excited I was stepping into the college and seeing all the kitchens and teachers. I felt like I was home, and couldn’t wait to begin my journey in an industry I feel so passionate about.
Where have you worked and in what roles?
I’ve worked for Australia’s best patisserie chefs, which I am very grateful for. While in high school I did work experience at Bennelong restaurant with Chef Guillaume Brahimi, and at Quay restaurant with Chef Peter Gilmore. Before Le Cordon Bleu, I was honoured to work beside Patisserie Chef Vincent Gadan. After completing my studies, I worked as a pastry chef for Adriano Zumbo and then worked at the International Convention Centre.
I currently work as a Chef De Partie for Adora Handmade Chocolates, in charge of the Sweetness Confectionery product range, which includes English Toffee, Caramel Popcorn, Florentines, Chocolate Covered Caramels, Pate de Fruits & Salted Vanilla Caramel Bonbons. Our six Adora Handmade Chocolates stores in NSW offer take away, online orders and click & collect.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I was proud to win the Gold at WorldSkills Australia National Competition and then named an Australian Apprenticeship Ambassador. I joined Australia’s elite international team – the Skills Squad – and spent six months training with my skills mentor, Herve Boutin. I was selected to compete at WorldSkills International Competition in Abu Dhabi with 1000 young people from 75 countries which was definitely the biggest highlight of my career.
Another great moment was competing in Global Chef International Patisserie Competition held in Malaysia with Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie Chef Angelo Roche. Having worked for the best names in industry, such as Adriano Zumbo, Vincent Gadan, Peter Gilmore and Guillaume Brahimi I feel very honoured. And finally, I am thrilled to be a Le Cordon Bleu Australia alumni who can share experiences and knowledge with future chefs.
What are your 5 - 10 year aspirations?
My long-term goal is to have my current brand established as a retail patisserie store, to have several stores nationally, or even one day, get my name internationally recognised. From a young age I’ve dreamt of becoming one of the best pastry chefs in the world, and I want to keep my dream alive and keep working hard to achieve it. That means also competing in the top international competitions.
What career challenges have you overcome, and what did you learn?
My challenge was learning how to work under pressure while problem solving to achieve the results I wanted. I learned this in competitions and by working in fast-paced kitchens. It is important to learn how to overcome mistakes in the kitchen, to quickly work out what comes next, and continue to push on.
Once you learn how to overcome that moment when you are under pressure and need to problem solve, you grow so much as a chef - it has made me smarter and stronger.
WATCH MARY'S VIDEO HERE - A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A SKILLAROO
CRICOS 02380M / RTO 4959