NERVES were high in the kitchen at Cafe Horizons in Cabramatta.
There were 12 young hospitality students awaiting the arrival of Governor-General Quentin Bryce, who was to taste-test their skills on Thursday.
Among the kitchen staff was 16-year-old Adam Abela.
About 16 weeks ago, he left high school to join The Salvation Army's 21-week hospitality training program at the cafe.
School just wasn't the right fit for him.
"I was really struggling with everything at school and wasn't coping," he said. "This program really changed my life. I love it here because I can please people and it gives me a chance to prove myself.
"Ever since I joined this program it's changed my view about my future. Before, I didn't see anything."
Co-ordinator and head trainer David Norris said it was about creating a different teaching environment for students.
"Here we treat them like grown-ups," he said.
"We introduce them to a different side of life, which allows them to mature and really change.
"It's about teaching kids, who have trouble at school, life-skills like cooking, cleaning and respect. We're essentially helping them fend for themselves."
After the course, students are awarded a certificate in hospitality.
Students served canapes, sandwiches and macarons to the Governor-General.
Cafe Horizons is funded by the NSW Department of Education and Training.
Cafe Horizons is at Shop 2 and 3 on 219 Cabramatta Road.
It's open on Thursdays from 12.15pm. Bookings essential.
Details: 9724 6344.