Sydney Access

Shangri-La Hotel
The Rocks, Sydney

Dizzy heights

In the last two years only three students have ever reached the dizzy heights of the show piece Altitude Restaurant at the top of the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney. Nadine Sanunu from Beverly Hills Girls’ High School is one of them. ‘This is a very special honour given only to our best and most trusted students,’ says Emily Van Wessem from the Human Resources department at the hotel. ‘Nadine proved early on that she was a cut above the rest and really impressed our Chef de Cuisine, Steven Krasicki.’

Passion for high standards

Nadine, who is about to finish Year 12, knows that she wants to be a chef. ‘I learnt more in one week here than I ever thought possible.’ She says. ‘I knew about presentation and we have assessments in school but here I learnt about having very high standards in absolutely everything.’ Nadine had her first learning experience about presentation early on. ‘My cucumber pieces couldn’t be served because they were too thick!’ This did not deter Nadine however, who demonstrated her willingness to learn, dedication and enthusiasm during her 5 day Sydney Access placement.

Compliments from the Chef

Chris Pryor, Senior Chef de Partie and Chef de Cuisine, Steven Krasicki were impressed by Nadine’s flair and aptitude. ‘I only had to show her once and she knew what to do,’ says Chris Pryor who is a supervisor in one of the five very busy kitchens that Nadine had the opportunity to work in during her placement. ‘Nadine actually wants to be a chef. She is passionate about it and this shows in her readiness to learn.’ Nadine was taken up to the award winning Altitude Restaurant by Chef de Cuisine, Steven. He gave her the opportunity to work in the prestigious restaurant which received a chef’s hat only two weeks ago at the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Awards 2010.

A great mentor makes all the difference

‘From the very first minute, Emily made me feel welcome’ says Nadine about her mentor Emily Van Wessem. ‘I felt like I was wanted and special.’ Emily who is studying whilst working at the hotel wants to advance her studies and career in the area of human resources.

Emily fully supports the objectives of the Sydney Access program for young people. ‘With a student of Nadine’s quality it opens doors for us too. She is a prime candidate for an apprenticeship.’ The Sydney Access strap line ‘one placement – many opportunities’ has certainly come true for Nadine and the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney.

First class attitude

Emily was impressed by Nadine almost immediately. ‘I was a bit shy on the first day’ Nadine admits ‘but Emily showed me around the hotel and settled me in and now I go up to people and ask what they are doing and introduce myself.’ Nadine has some advice for other Sydney Access students.
‘It’s one opportunity and it could change your life so make the most of it.’
Emily has been impressed with Nadine’s attitude all along. ‘She comes in early, leaves late sometimes and is enthusiastic about everything. She works hard has a lovely personality and shows it.’

Master Chef

Celebrity MasterChef was filming at the Altitude Restaurant on the last day of Nadine’s placement. ‘I am planning to take Nadine up there to take a look this afternoon’ says Emily. As the interview ends they stand laughing for the picture and acknowledge each others’ part in a successful partnership. It was clear that when Nadine and the Shangri-La partnered through Sydney Access, here was another master chef in the making.