Chef wins dream prize

Talented: Leumeah resident and Campbelltown Catholic Club chef, Mikaila Mikulic. Picture: Chris Lane

Talented: Leumeah resident and Campbelltown Catholic Club chef, Mikaila Mikulic. Picture: Chris Lane

Free flights to the United Kingdom or Asia plus $5000 cash.

It’s a prize everyone would dream of winning.

But for Leumeah’s Mikaila Mikulic, that “dream” is now a reality.

The Campbelltown Catholic Club apprentice chef was named the winner of the Hospitality Training Network’s Peter Howard Culinary Scholarship at a ceremony on Tuesday night.

Ms Mikulic said she was overwhelmed when she was announced as the winner.

“I cried, I’m not going to lie,” she said.

“I wasn’t expecting it.”

With her on the night was her mum who was also “in tears” and one of two major sources of her culinary inspiration, her dad.

Ms Mikulic said it was her dad and her nan that inspired her to forge a career as a chef.

"My nan loved cooking and my dad loved cooking. My dad got me into the kitchen from an early age where I was mixing the pot or cutting the vegetables,” the 18-year-old said.

“From the age of five or six, I knew I wanted to be a chef when I was older.”

Her career will now take her to China after she elected to take the flights to Asia instead of the UK.

Ms Mikulic said the scholarship involved experiencing the local cuisine and meeting with industry professionals – something she was particularly keen to do.

“I’ve been to the UK before but never to China. There are so many little cities in China I’d love to visit,” she said.

“There are tours over there where you can immerse yourself in street food as well as fine dining.

“Working overseas is something I’ve always wanted to do and this will help me get my foot in the door.”

To be in the running for the scholarship, entrants were required to submit a three to four minute video explaining their accomplishments, where they’d like to work and why.

The former St Patrick’s College Campbelltown student also entered last year but didn’t make it to the finals.

She said her fellow Campbelltown Catholic Club chefs helped a lot with the winning application.

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