Redbank Plains High School Platters on Willow coordinator and catering teacher Kara Pulou (left) with year 12 students from left, Melika Leslie, Janeeka Hill, and Vanessa Evans.
Redbank Plains High School Platters on Willow coordinator and catering teacher Kara Pulou (left) with year 12 students from left, Melika Leslie, Janeeka Hill, and Vanessa Evans. David Nielsen

When people crying over your food is a good thing

WHEN the food you are serving is so good that it is bringing people to tears, you know you're doing something right in the kitchen.

Young culinary students at Redbank Plains State High School have got people talking and mouths watering over their top-quality finger food.

Their school-based catering business, which specialises in indigenous-inspired cuisine, is now even winning awards.

The initiative was cooked up by hospitality teacher Kara Pulou after her class was asked to prepare canapes for a school meeting with local elders.

Ms Pulou said she and her students used the opportunity to create a spread of food that incorporated native Australian ingredients.

"Some of the elders were moved to tears by the cooking and said the unique flavours had brought back memories of their childhood," she said.

"Since that day, word of the school's cuisine has spread and business has rocketed with students catering to around 40 events a year."

The menu features hors d'oeuvres such as dampers and jams, croc breakfast burgers and kangaroo chipolatas.

Ms Pulou said the catering enterprise, called Platters on Willow, had become a practical way to give students on-the-job training and work towards a Certificate 1 in Kitchen Operations.

"The students put a lot into it," she said. "They're always keen to take part in each function.

"And they always receive such great feedback from customers, which helps boost their self-esteem and confidence in their hospitality skills."

As a result of its success, Platters in Willow was recently announced Regional Showcase winners for the Excellence in Education Innovation Award.

The school received a $1000 development grant, and has begun its submission for the state final in July.

In 2012, Platters on Willow catered for the Federal Government Community Cabinet meeting at Redbank Plains State High School.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard had high praise for the quality of finger food served and the professionalism of the Platters on Willow team.


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