Thursday, July 12, 2007

'Mile high' means on the nose in airforce speak

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia.

THE Redlands must have seemed like a quiet backwater when Stephen and Karen Graham moved here 14 years ago after Stephen’s discharge from the air force.
He had been in uniform for 22 years and had flown around the world. Time for a rest? Not quiet.
Since their arrival at Alexandra Hills in 1994, the Grahams have been busy with their business, Always Professional Catering and Party Hire.
Stephen completed an apprenticeship under some classy Brisbane chefs before he joined the air force. He went on to be a warrant officer and head chef for nine years at the air force catering training school at Wagga Wagga, NSW.
Along the way, he even taught the air force stewardesses how to cook fresh fish for dignitaries in a VIP jet – without any permeating stench.

ON the ground, Stephen probably made his biggest contribution to the air force’s reputation for fine food.
"I said we can beat any chef in the world and started the air force in competition work," he says.
A three-time Salon Culinaire chef of the year, Stephen also received other awards including Australia’s best three-course main meal, ice sculpture, sugar centrepiece and chocolate carving.
His specialties now include weddings. Stephen gets excited talking about the special assignments.
"I have carved half-tonne ice sculptures in two hours but you should see the sugar centrepieces, like the basket of roses – it’s all made of toffee and it’s 150 degrees when you work with it."

NOW you know why life has not been all that quiet for the Grahams in recent years. Always Professional keeps busy with freelance catering for weddings, corporate functions and sit-down dinners.
Stephen refuses to use "anything that’s frozen". He reckons other chefs have told him he is a nutcase but he takes pride in his obsession with using the best ingredients, properly prepared, in everything the business serves.
He credits his grounding with a Danish master pastry chef, Carlo Marlo, and other chefs from Germany, France, Switzerland and Holland for forming his career.
"They were very tough with me but to this day I have the greatest respect for those guys," Stephen says.
THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

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