NETschool students were given an amazing opportunity today, to experience first-hand what it’s like to work in a busy local cafe.

The Cafe for a Day program – an initiative of Bendigo Foodshare – connects young people with local chefs to learn all about the process of cooking and working in hospitality.

The students arrived at Mitchell Street cafe Hoo-gah to get an overview of how the day would work, and fill out a pre-session evaluation form.

Supported by Georgia from Bendigo Foodshare, the students worked together and were guided by Gina Triolo, Owner and Head Chef at Hoo-gah.

Gina said that she was proud to have been involved with the program since the very beginning.

“The idea came about during a discussion with a team member from Foodshare. For me, it’s always been about teaching young people and getting them into hospitality.”

“I’ve been a chef for 33 years and am noticing there are not as many young people in the industry. It’s about getting hands-on experience at a young age.”

Members of the public were given the chance to order the special lunch dish for the day: roasted pumpkin and lemon myrtle arancini balls with a bush tomato salsa and rocket salad.

Students were kept busy all day, preparing ingredients, cooking meals, setting tables, taking orders, waiting on customers and cleaning up at the end of the day.

The experience was so valuable for the group, especially in terms of teamwork.

“It’s been really good. There’s been a lot of teamwork; everyone has worked well together.” said student, Alyiah.

When asked what the most important skill learnt today was, Alyiah and fellow student Jaxson both echoed, “Communication.”

Despite the hustle and bustle of a busy cafe, the students – along with NETschool mentor Jim – had a lot of fun.

Well done to students Oscar, Jaxson, Connor, Amelia and Alyiah on thriving in a busy environment (and producing some delicious meals!).

BSSC thanks Bendigo Foodshare and Hoo-gah for the incredible opportunity given to our students.

See more photos on the BSSC Facebook page.