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Karen takes her involvement in the culinary industry to an impressive level. She actively works to inspire and educate chefs within her job role as Head Teacher at Le Cordon Bleu. She is an inspiration to women in the hospitality industry, devoting time as an ambassador for the association ‘Women in World-Chefs’. And it doesn’t end there; she’s also the President for the Australian Culinary Federation NSW-ACT & Regions.
1. Your restaurant/business:
Le Cordon Bleu Sydney Culinary Arts Institute.
2. Describe your kitchens:
I am very lucky that currently I am the Head Teacher/Chef Culinary for Le Cordon Bleu based at the Northern Sydney Institute part of TAFE and utilize 16 state of the art training kitchens, which includes 2 restaurants and 2 demonstration kitchens.
3. Favourite Chef item and why:
Sofia Ladies Jacket- Smart, comfortable, good fit and breathable fabric.
4. First job:
Summer job as a commis chef in a boutique 5 star hotel in Ireland, which led to a culinary scholarship and the beginning of my culinary career.
5. Your cookbook:
Featured in a variety of other authors cookbooks, currently compiling a selection of my recipes with a view to publish my own in the near future.
I am currently the President for the Australian Culinary Federation NSW-ACT & Regions, as part of this the latest achievements have been hosting and facilitating the Australian Culinary Challenge - Battle of the Pacific, as part of Fine Foods with my fantastic committee. Other achievements along the way include- securing the Culinary Head Teacher position with Le Cordon Bleu, being a Team Manager and trainer for many competitions e.g. Nestle Golden Chefs Hat, NSW National Apprentice Team etc. An ACF accredited judge - judging and convening across many National Competitions. Obtaining the Ministers Quality Teaching Award, 2012. Gold Medal Winner and overall winner Salon Culinaire, Restaurant of Champions, Sydney NSW: 2007.
7. Your cooking inspiration:
During my career there have been many chefs and others that have inspired me in different ways. One that springs to mind is Tetsuya with his views on sustainability and sourcing directly from farmers and food producers and the passion and drive he has in regards to utilization of ingredients.
8. Your speciality dish:
I don't really have one, it depends on where I am, who I am cooking for, my inspiration at the time, seasonality and availability of good quality ingredients.
9. Favourite dish to eat:
That is a hard one, I love food and enjoy a variety of cuisines and trying new dishes but when I go home- my Mum's beef stew and dumplings.
10. Wierdest thing you have ever eaten:
Crickets and bugs in Japan.
11. Favourite ice cream flavour:
Half-Baked Ben & Jerrys.
12. Favourite drink:
Pannacotta with Fig Jam and Amaretti Biscuit - Messina Gelato.
13. Favourite wine:
2013 - The Obsessive Chardonnay (Scarborough Wines- Hunter Valley).
14. Who would you most like to cook for:
15. Who would you least like to cook for:
Who would you least like to cook for: No one really, there are always challenges when cooking in a commercial kitchen.
16. Favourite things to do outside of the kitchen:
Spending time with family and friends, getting outside, experiencing new cuisines and cultures and being active.
17. Your latest project:
My latest project is to organise a Women in Leadership event/conference as part of my role as a female ambassador for female chefs within the industry -'Women in World-chefs'. The aim of this association is to build up national and international networks to mentor, recruit, promote careers and retain female membership in Chefs associations and within the industry.
18. Favourite city and why:
Sydney, due to its breath of fresh ingredients and the inter-cultural nature that creates new and interesting eating experiences. The beaches, the harbour and the preservation of the surrounding nature.
19. Your greatest indulgence:
Having someone else to cook for me.
20. Your all time best culinary tip:
Use the best quality ingredients that you can obtain.
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