Cooking up a storm at TrinityJohn Blois
He’s become a familiar face for those in Food Technology and Hospitality classes and the praise for his cooking skills can be heard from students and staff alike across the Trinity campus, but Mr Jacob Saliba is just glad he can pair his dual passions for food and education together.
Working in the education sector has always been on Jacob’s radar. Straight out of high school, he completed his first year of a degree in Primary Education before pivoting to pursue his passion for food by studying Commercial Cookery at William Blue.
With eight years of experience across some of the best restaurants Sydney has to offer, Jacob wasn’t sure what he wanted to do next. That’s when he spotted a position available at Trinity Grammar School. He jumped at the chance to dive back into the world of education and is now the Food Technology and Hospitality Teachers’ Assistant.
Trinity was a great choice for Jacob – coming from the hospitality industry, he knew the kinds of facilities he needed to thrive and he knew that Trinity could offer them.
“I didn’t have any food technology facilities available to me at school – but had they been available to me, maybe food would have been something that I would have ended up doing sooner,” he says.
“I love having the opportunity to share my passion and joy of food with the boys. At the very least, I’m able to teach the students how to cook for themselves to survive.
“Taking this role has opened my eyes to realise that I now do want to pursue education. It’s easy to ‘um’ and ‘ah’ and not know what you want to do. It’s been good for me to have this step before I start a four year course.
“I have the chance to help educate students and be that extra helping hand in the kitchen. The staff really value my input and industry experience when it comes to the practical side of things. I can show the students how what they’re learning equates to what happens in the industry or how it differs from what they do at home.”
Starting the role in early 2021, Jacob experienced what it was like to engage with students remotely. He filmed himself cooking to help the students follow along from home with step-by-step instructions, and he got some valuable information and support from his mother who is a Food Technology teacher.
“I’m loving the opportunity to work with the students, not just in the educational setting but beyond into the Co-curricular programme too,” Jacob says. “I work with the Community Service Co-curricular who use the kitchen to make sandwiches for Vinnies. Plus, one of the Mandarin classes is coming in soon to learn to make spring rolls. It’s not just typical academic classes all the time.”
It’s not uncommon for those in the hospitality industry to look for opportunities in the education sector, but Jacob says they usually start looking once they’ve had a long career and are tired of the demanding 60-hour work weeks. Even then, they often go into teaching at TAFE or through a college, not usually a high school.
For anyone who might be wanting to shake things up a little bit, Jacob is the proof that taking this kind of opportunity can pay off.
“Be on the lookout for opportunities like this. There are steps between full-time cookery and full-time teaching – these kinds of midway stepping stones can help you to understand what you really want to do.”
Going into 2023, Jacob’s looking forward to starting his degree in Secondary Education to bring his love for food and education together. He’s also looking forward to continuing to be a part of the team at Trinity as they look to revamp the kitchen, update technology and embrace further change.
Want to know more about working at Trinity? Check out all the employment opportunities available.