From Apprentice to Chef De Partie Pastry in Laura

Joining Pt. Leo Estate as a junior apprentice, Olivia Scott completed her apprenticeship to become a pastry chef here at Pt. Leo Estate. Olivia has reflected on her lessons, influences and advice she would give to those thinking about the career path of becoming a chef.

What motivated you to choose the career path of becoming a chef?

Enjoying being in the kitchen and seeing people enjoy the cakes I baked was a big motivation to choose this career path, as well as having a lot of encouragement and support from family and friends.

What are the 3 best tips you can give to aspiring chefs who may be apprehensive about starting their apprenticeship?

I was very apprehensive to start my apprenticeship so the 3 best tips I can give to an aspiring chef are:

To know what you’re getting into, the hours are long and you’ll be working when everyone else has time off

It’s ok to make mistakes. They may set you back time wise but the chefs are always looking out for you and will lend a hand and show you how best to do the work. You are never alone in the kitchen.

Lastly, to just say yes and go for it! An apprenticeship is a commitment but the next 3 years will go by so quickly and you’ll have fun along the way and learn about so much, from recipes and techniques to uncommon and interesting ingredients.

What was the biggest lesson you learnt during your apprenticeship? and how is this transferable to your role as a chef at Pt. Leo Estate?

The biggest lesson I learnt during my apprenticeship was to always be working on hot and cold dish at the same time. This transfers to my role as a chef because it helps me to work through my prep list and manage my time better.

What interests you about working as a chef across both Laura and Pt. Leo Restaurant?

What interests me the most about working across Laura and Pt. Leo Restaurant is that each provides a different working experience due to the different dynamics of each restaurant. In Pt. Leo Restaurant you don’t know what each customer will order as the menu is a la carte, and the service is very fast paced.

In Laura, although service can be fast paced, I know exactly what each customer is having due to the menu being set. The chefs in Laura also work closely with local producers and suppliers, which is a great way to learn about what’s out there in our region.

Are there any influential chefs that you admire? What makes them admirable?

In 2014 I discovered Canadian pastry chef Anna Olson through her TV show ‘Bake with Anna Olson’.  I admire her as she taught me the importance of starting with simple recipes which lay the foundations for more complex and skilled ones.

I have also always admired all the chefs I have worked with within Pt. Leo Estate and learning all I can from them, observing their dedication to making sure every plate that leaves the pass is perfect. I want to thank Phil Wood for offering me the opportunity to start an apprenticeship and his skills in combining ingredients I never thought could go together. Josep Espuga for inviting me to work in Laura, and learning how to make his sublime burnt malt Basque cheesecake, has been a career highlight. Leading by example is an admirable quality that all the chefs I’ve worked under possess.

Do you have a formative food moment?

In primary school I went with my family to a local restaurant where I ordered vanilla pannacotta with berry coulis for the first time. Having no idea what the dessert was, I loved every bite and decided that one day I would make it.  

What excites you the most about 2022?

In 2022 I’m most excited about the world reopening, being back in the kitchen full time, no lockdowns and I can’t wait to go on holiday again!