From Toowoomba to the world: A Pastry Chef's Sweet Journey
Rhiann Mead, an accomplished pastry chef, has embarked on a remarkable journey that has led her to the esteemed position of Head Pastry Chef at The Charles in Sydney.
Miss Mead will also be appearing on Channel 10’s upcoming show, MasterChef: Dessert Masters, where she will be battling it out for the sweet glory and title of Australia’s Dessert Master.
With her diverse experiences and passion for the culinary arts, Miss Mead has become a shining example of how following one's dreams can lead to extraordinary achievements.
Miss Mead says that her educational background played a pivotal role in shaping her career.
While attending St Saviour's College, Toowoomba she undertook a wide range of subjects, including trades.
Miss Mead attributes her success to the excellent education she received, which taught her valuable life skills.
“School definitely set me up for my career in a few different ways,” said Miss Mead.
“The range of subjects available was great – especially having the option to learn trades as well.”
“School taught me a lot about structure and organisation, and on a more personal level we were always encouraged to be an individual,” Miss Mead said.
After completing her schooling, Mead initially enrolled in a physiotherapy course at university but decided to defer for a year to travel to London.
While working in a retail job at the renowned Harrods Food Hall she was introduced to the captivating world of food and fell in love with patisserie.
This was where Miss Mead discovered her calling as a pastry chef.
She secured an apprenticeship with esteemed chocolatier William Curley in Europe, where she spent two years honing her craft and expanding her knowledge.
“It was honestly an opportunity I’ll never take for granted and I consider myself so lucky to have been moulded by some of the best pastry chefs in the world,” said Miss Mead.
Miss Mead's time in London spanned five years, and on return to Australia, she started working for Peter Gilmore at his esteemed restaurants Quay and Bennelong in Sydney.
Now, as the Head Pastry Chef at The Charles in Sydney, Miss Mead continues to push the boundaries of her creativity and expertise.
Her career highlights include travelling around Australia for cooking events, being flown to Switzerland and Italy for culinary ventures, and participating in fashion shows, photography shoots, TV programs and magazine features.
Miss Mead feels incredibly fortunate to have collaborated with remarkable individuals in iconic establishments throughout her career.
Reflecting on her career journey, Miss Mead emphasises the importance of pursuing one's passion.
She credits her apprenticeship as the key factor that propelled her to where she is today.
She advises students to explore various options and not be afraid to change their minds, as unexpected opportunities often arise that can shape their careers in unimaginable ways.
“I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without my apprenticeship,” said Miss Mead.
“An apprenticeship was perfect for me because I could study and get my qualifications while still being able to work and learn hands-on in the workplace.”
“I’ve found something I truly love and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” Miss Mead said.
When asked about her schooling life at St Saviour’s College, Miss Mead fondly reminisces about the experiences she had and daily interactions with close-knit friendship groups.
Miss Mead said, “I am really grateful for my time at St Saviour’s and all the opportunities my schooling provided me.”
“Would you believe that I actually miss classes?”
“I also miss all the extra-curricular activities like sports carnivals, but what I miss most is being with my friendship groups every day!”
Miss Mead will be appearing on Channel 10’s MasterChef: Dessert Masters where ten of Australia's dessert chefs will compete for $100,000 and to be named the first-ever Dessert Master.