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Staff Highlight: Paul Walker & Zoo Sumi

Mr Paul Walker has been working as a chef for most of his life. With his work, he has travelled all over Australia, and became accustomed to the demanding lifestyle of a chef- working around the clock, including weekends and holidays.

“Everyone else is having fun, while you are working in the kitchen,” Mr Walker.

Looking for a better work-life balance that still enabled him to use is culinary skills, Mr Walker commenced at the School in 2007, as a Sous Chef. Following the retirement of David Sibly this year, Mr Walker was appointed as the Catering Manager and has been joined by Sous Chef, Mr Zoo Sumi. Their challenge is to create delicious meals for the School and Boarding.

The chefs have widely different stories on how they started in their careers. For Mr Walker, he decided on his path at 15, when he moved out of home and went to do his own thing.

“My original plan was to get out on the ocean and travel the world, but I am a country boy at heart and found I preferred to keep my feet on the ground,” stated Paul. Mr Walker has had many experiences including opening restaurants and having up to 50 staff, to working at multiple resorts in Cairns.

Mr Sumi started his career in Japan as a PE Teacher, teaching sports such as skiing, snowboarding, swimming, and trampoline. He did some work as a Chef in Japan, before he travelled to Australia where he worked in many different professions; cleaning windows on skyscrapers, tutoring in Japanese, event co-ordinating and working in construction, were only a handful of all the career paths he tried. While Mr Sumi was interested in resuming his teaching career, his Japanese teaching qualification was not transferrable. Mr Sumi then decided to pursue his cooking career and embarked on certificate courses with TAFE.

“I missed cooking, so the course was a way for me to get an Australian qualification for something I enjoy. I have worked in education for a long time, so the role of sous chef at Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School seemed like a good opportunity. I cannot teach in Australia, but I do like working with students,” said Mr Sumi.

The food that they provide for our Boarding students is quite different to what they experienced for school lunch., “I took my own lunch to school every day, which was Vegemite Sandwiches or something very basic. You could also buy your lunch at a canteen, but it was nothing like today, for example, you could buy plain milk in a glass milk bottle,” Mr Walker recollected., “It is great to see the diversity in the food we can provide students these days, with special diets and nutrition in focus,” he added.

For Mr Sumi, the Japanese experience is vastly different and part of the culture of Japan. “In Primary School (Years 1 to 7), a centre makes food and distribute it to the schools, who then take the lunches to the students. Junior High School students (Years 8 to 9) would bring their own lunch, and the High School students (Years 10 to 12) could bring their own lunch or eat at the canteen. I made my own lunch every day, and always made two lunch boxes, as the activities made me so hungry,” described Mr Sumi.

Mr Walker and Mr Sumi are enjoying working together. “The thing I have enjoyed the most about working here, is cooking with Mr Walker, and the second, is the environment,” said Mr Sumi.

“I am really enjoying my new role and having Zoo come on board, with his enthusiasm and ideas. We have been tossing ideas around about new menus, and changes for next Terms’ menu, which has been great! Zoo is also getting along really well with everyone in the kitchen,” Mr Walker said.

 

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