Exclusive restaurant addresses trade shortage in unique way

Dec 14, 2016    

In November 2013 Rockpool moved from its original home on George Street to the historic Burns Philp building at 11 Bridge Street, in the heart of Sydney.  25 years young newly named ‘Eleven Bridge’ continues to be regarded as one of the best restaurants in Australia.

The Rockpool Group acknowledges that their most valuable asset is their staff and they pride themselves on a training program aimed at developing future industry leaders.

A major issue for them is the massive shortage of up and coming hospitality tradespeople and Executive Chef, Phil Wood, has found a unique way to address this.

MWLP Linking Youth provides businesses with Year 11 and 12 students, who in this instance, are studying Hospitality as part of their Higher School Certificate for week-long work placements.

Phil joined the program early this year, offering one student each week the opportunity to experience first-hand, life in the kitchen.  He says “Our industry in general is struggling to find good employees.  We need to readjust how we work to attract young people and we find work placement to be a great way to introduce and encourage students into careers in Hospitality”.

Phil adds “I have passion for the industry and want to nurture the next generation.  The work placement program helps us identify the next influx of talented people.  I look for a ‘hunger for work’, coupled with initiative and interest.  A willingness to learn and an ability to take instructions also impress me.”


Oisin Braddock-Hanratty (left) with Executive Chef Phil Wood

Concord High School student Oisin Braddock-Hanratty has had a passion for food from a young age. He won the Perishable Food Category at the Royal Easter Show on a couple of occasions for his award-winning muffins.  Oisin often cooks alongside mum and dad and couldn’t wait to study Hospitality at school as part of his HSC curriculum.

Oisin says “I was pretty surprised when I found out prestigious restaurants like Eleven Bridge offered students work placement and couldn’t wait to register my interest and learn all about fine dining.  I have been here nearly a week now and it has been an amazing experience.  It is so high-class.  The kitchen is organised and efficient.  It is specially designed to keep up with the fast pace.  The team is so professional and there is a lot of respect shown.

Oisin continues “I have been picking herbs, squaring lettuce, preparing and making salads.  It’s all about ‘mise en place’ – keeping everything in its place.  My time here has made me even more motivated to continue my studies and I definitely see Eleven Bridge as a goal.  Their dishes are like works of art!”

Oisin’s Vet Co-ordinator, Armagan Basak, chose him to undertake his placement at Eleven Bridge due to his outstanding passion, attitude and the review from his first placement.

Armagan commented “As a Vet Co-ordinator I haven’t seen these types of high-end restaurants offering work placement before.  It gives students real world experience and opens the door to fine dining.  It must be almost surreal to work in such a high-end restaurant.  It is very beneficial and I’m thankful to Eleven Bridge.”

Phil encourages more students to consider Hospitality.  “It is a broad and amazing career that could have you travelling the world”.

For more information contact MWLP’s Michael Everett on 0428 935 688 or email Michael.everett@mwlp.com.au

Media relations contact:  Sue Scobie on 0438 046 293 or email sue.scobie@mwlp.com.au