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Kitchen staff feeling the heat

Wednesday, 23rd November, 2011

BON APPETIT: Helping cook on the day will be (from left) Barrier Social Democratic Club apprentice Tammy-Lee Ali, TAFE Head Chef Lee Cecchin and Astra Hotel Head Chef Jack Attrill. BON APPETIT: Helping cook on the day will be (from left) Barrier Social Democratic Club apprentice Tammy-Lee Ali, TAFE Head Chef Lee Cecchin and Astra Hotel Head Chef Jack Attrill.

By Erica Visser

 The Broken Hill Flying Doctor base has been working tirelessly for days to prepare for Crown Princess Mary’s Friday visit - and they are not the only ones.

TAFE Chef Lee Cecchin is slaving away in the kitchen to prepare a meal fit for royalty, and she said yesterday that she was about “a third of the way” through the preparations.

“There’s a lot of preparation involved, although it’s hard because we can’t pre-prepare food,” Ms Cecchin said.

She, along with a team of 10 TAFE students, will cook for the princess as well as the 260 guests at the two-hour luncheon in the RFDS hangar.

The number seems a lot but Ms Cecchin said she had it under control and had served for a crowd of 700 once and that earlier in the year her TAFE students cooked for 400 at a local function.

Ms Cecchin’s has prepared meals for some big names including sheiks, an Archbishop, former Prime Minister John Howard, South Australian Premier John Olsen and a number of football stars.

But she was still surprised when she was asked about catering for the princess.

“It was a phone call at home six weeks ago,” Ms Cecchin said.

“The first thing I said was, ‘Is this a prank call? And how’d you get my number?’”

Ms Cecchin said her favourite among the dishes in the four-course menu was the dessert. 

“My desserts, you won’t find them anywhere - you can’t Google them. 

“I’m known for my desserts.”

Princess Mary will have to dash before the sweets but she won’t miss out.

 “We thought we’d box it up and give it to them to take back to eat in the plane  when there’s no cameras!,” Ms Cecchin said.

Ms Cecchin has put hours into the presentation of the boxes. The white boxes will be covered in red and gold ribbon and the dessert will be sitting on a plate atop gold paper.

“The dessert will come out as though you’re actually eating it at the table, the sides of the box come out,” Ms Cecchin said.

Presenting the takeaway package to the royal table will be one of the 37 waiters and waitresses working on the day.

Ms Cecchin said that many swere needed because the luncheon was brief and the food had to be served quickly. 

The waiting staff will be co-ordinated by TAFE’s Jarrod Lehman and they come not only from TAFE hospitality students but also the high schools.

A briefing will be held today to make sure every one understands their role.

Ms Cecchin said the biggest task would be preparing the tables, food and cutlery. In order to be ready for Mary’s 10.20am arrival, staff will be at the base at 7am.

Ms Cecchin, who returned to the city in 2002, said that the event would certainly be a highlight.

“It’s good to come home and do something that benefits the whole of the community,” she said.

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