Kitchen trainee


Trainee cook Heath Powazuk preparing meals in the Loaves and Fishes kitchen in Devonport.



By Paul O'Rourke


Cooking trainee Heath Powazuk found his passion when he volunteered at the Loaves and Fishes kitchen for six crazy months during the height of the COVID pandemic.

Heath, 22, who was required to do six months at the Devonport kitchen as part of the work-for-the-dole program, loved the cooking, the cause, and the culture, and stayed on. He did some paid casual shifts before being offered a three-year traineeship, starting late last year.

The former Don College student unsuccessfully sampled construction and electrical courses while at school, but admits he was aimless when he had completed his studies.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he said.

“I did work-for-the-dole at Mission Australia in the store on Don Road before being assigned to Loaves and Fishes.

“The longer I was at Loaves and Fishes, the more I loved it, and the better I became at it.

“What we do really does make a difference. We take the scraps and the offcuts and surplus food and we turn it into the meals people really need.”

Heath enjoys the weekly challenge and satisfaction of inventing dishes out of whatever is donated.

“I enjoy being part of a team and being busy.

"I actually love the food prep; the feel of using your own knives to cut up food that will ultimately made into meals to feed others.

“There’s a lot of banter and give and take in the kitchen, but everyone get on well most of the time and I like the atmosphere.”

Heath will graduate in two years with a Certificate Three in Cookery and Kitchen Operations. He hopes to stay with Loaves and Fishes beyond the traineeship.

He is one of more than a dozen adult and school-based trainees at Loaves and Fishes, working at the Devonport kitchen and warehouse and Hobart warehouse.

Kitchen supervisor and mentor Patrick O’Connell said Heath had grown in his confidence and skills in the past 18 months, regarding him as his "right hand man" in the kitchen.

"He has a solid understanding of the cooking techniques we use and an ability to interpret and adjust recipes as needed," Patrick said.

"He has also developed a love and passion for both cooking and quality food. In our training days, Heath has been willing to take risks and step out of his comfort zone in terms of the food he has produced.

"One thing I really appreciate with Heath is that if I give him a task to complete I know it will be completed well."