Young Mountains chef a winner in NSW Training Awards

I was always in the kitchen with Mum, cooking ... we have a few chefs in the family, so my passion started there.

Tyler Pockran

An emerging young chef from Blaxland High School is well on the way to a career in elite restaurants after winning the School Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year award for Central and Northern Sydney in the NSW Training Awards.

Seventeen-year-old Tyler Pockran was one of three finalists up for the prize, and he will now go on to the NSW State Training Award Finals later this year.

Tyler has been apprenticed at Tetsuya's Restaurant, near Town Hall in the Sydney CBD, since 2020. He is also studying for a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery through TAFE.

Tyler said: "It's amazing to get this level of recognition, which I'm not used to at all. It feels like I'm being seen for all the hard work I am doing, and all the support I've been given."

Tetsuya's is a Japanese fine dining restaurant.

"I'm very interested in Japanese cuisine," he said. "I went to Japan on exchange in year 10, and that made me want further knowledge of Japanese culture and food.

"Being at such a high-level restaurant is a unique experience that others don't get. It's high-end, with high responsibility, a bit more pressure on everything."

Tyler's interest in cooking can be traced back to his early childhood.

"I was always in the kitchen with Mum, cooking. It's a small house and we were always close together in the kitchen every Sunday, whether making pancakes or Sunday roast. We have a few chefs in the family, so my passion started there and kept growing."

The NSW Training Awards are an annual event held by Training Services NSW, recognising outstanding achievement in the vocational education and training sector. The Awards honour the achievements of students, trainers/teachers, training organisations, and employers. The People's Choice Award category is decided by a public vote, with the winner announced on Saturday, October 9.

Tyler hopes that a life as a chef will turn out to be a passport to global cuisine. He aims to "travel the world cooking in restaurants, and one day have my own.

"That's the great thing about this industry - your skills are so transferable and can overcome any language barrier. Cooking itself is a language."