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A chef willing to learn

SWEET ROLE: Chef Ashleigh Buckland loves all aspects of her job at Oscars on Sydney, but is especially keen on making desserts.
SWEET ROLE: Chef Ashleigh Buckland loves all aspects of her job at Oscars on Sydney, but is especially keen on making desserts. Peter Holt

ASHLEIGH Buckland first developed her passion for cooking in her mother's kitchen.

"She would usually cook the mains and I cooked the desserts," Ms Buckland said.

"I still love cooking desserts... lately I have been making a French chocolate cake, which is really nice," she said.

Ms Buckland, who has now been a qualified chef for five years, was on a day off on Thursday when she chatted about her career in hospitality.

Having days off during the middle of the week was just one of the perks of the profession, she said.

Ms Buckland is one of three busy chefs and cooks working behind the scenes at popular breakfast hotspot, Oscars on Sydney Cafe & Bar. She said working at Oscars was one of the best cooking gigs she has had so far.

"At Oscar's it's been really great because we don't do night shift, and we don't do split shifts," she said.

Split shifts are when chefs work a morning shift and then head home for a few hours but then later return to work to start their evening shift.

"All of my friends work in hospitality," Ms Buckland said. "I think it's because we have something in common, and the shift work."

Two qualified chefs and one cook currently work at Oscars.

A chef's apprenticeship takes four years to complete and involves practical and theoretical elements of study. Cooks are without the qualification, but often have skill and experience in cooking for many people at once.

"To be a good chef you need to be open-minded and willing to learn," Ms Buckland said.

You can learn a lot from people who are less qualified than you, from the chefs and the cooks, she said.

Throughout the day there are peaks and lows of customers at Oscars.

And for Ms Buckland, when it gets busy it starts getting fun.

"I like it when it's busy," she said. "It's more fun when you are under pressure."

As the head chef, Ms Buckland liaises with the cafe's owners and gets to craft tasty new menus.

"If one of us finds a great recipe we bring it in and add it to the menu," she said.

"It has to be within reason of course. Because we are a cafe people want their food quickly."

Oscars currently has a position available for a chef or a cook.

Topics:  cake, chef, cooking


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