A missed opportunity for vegetarian and vegan cooks

February 14th, 2023 by Phillip McMillan

A missed opportunity for vegetarian and vegan cooks

Over my 24 years working in the field on training for cooks and chefs, there have been many cooks and chefs I have come into contact with looking for their trade qualifications. Unfortunately, in the past, it has not been possible for these cooks to gain AQF qualifications without cooking in the units of meat, seafood, poultry and the associated other units with compulsory animal ingredients.  A few have elected to cook these products for the sake of a qualification, but most say, that’s not what I do and not what I am about. In modern terms, it does not align with their values.

When I heard that the new SIT 21 had a vegetarian and vegan unit, I thought this was a great step forward to align the package with the increased demand for plant-based foods. So, to have this as part of a Certificate III qualification is great. But cooks who specialize in vegan or vegetarian cooking are still locked out of the Australian AQF system. Whatever happened to the concept of not leaving people behind? What happened to inclusivity? Do we really want a training package that excludes this growing sector of hospitality and of our society?

It’s about time that vegetarian cooks were included as real qualified cooks and a qualification is designed to meet their needs and the needs of vegetarian and vegan customers and venues around Australia. Let’s not leave these committed and talented cooks behind by deliberate exclusion because of the values they follow and the food they cook.
Phillip McMillan
Chef Educator/ Resource Writer
Training Resource Solutions