When Sammy Carbone was chopping onions and peeling potatoes during the school holidays at his uncle’s restaurant in Griffith he knew he wanted to be a chef.
Even when his parent discouraged him because of the long hours. He still knew.
Even when he applied to be a teacher and an electrician. He still knew.
As fate would have it, he didn’t hear back from numerous applications for other jobs.
So the Fairfield Heights resident applied to Bankstown Sports Club.
Four years later and the chef de partie is thriving in the kitchen.
The 22-year-old has added a second 2017 Nestlé Golden Chef's Hat Award to his collection last month.
The award has been running for 52 years and is Australia’s longest running culinary competition for young chefs.
Along with teammate Rachael Fenech, they created a two-course menu of lamb loin with pistachio, mint and rosemary crust for their main and a cinnamon panna cotta with strawberry and white chocolate mousse for their dessert course.
“I entered last year and walked away with experience and knowledge that I wouldn’t have learnt in the work kitchen. So, I definitely wanted to take on the challenge again this year and show my passion for cooking,” he said.
“It was good to be recognised with another silver medal. Next year I am aiming for gold.”
So what’s Sammy’s secret to cooking good Italian food?
“I think adding butter to pasta makes the sauce thicker and richer,” he said.
“When it comes to pizza, less is more. The simpler you make it the better it tastes.”
Mr Carbone said he hopes to one day open a little pizza and pasta place to share his love of Italian food.