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Women in WACS Profile: Cobi Riethmuller

Age:  23

Position(s) currently held: Commis chef

Career Highlights: going to nationals for the Nestle Golden Chefs Hat 2013. Being a member of the QLD Culinary Squad. Graduating top of my class at Le Cordon Bleu.

Home Town/Country: Rolleston, QLD

What kind of formal education do you have (include apprenticeships)? I attended Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney, where I did a Grand Diploma in Culinary Arts, finishing as a qualified chef and pastry chef.

 

What made you decide to enter the culinary profession?

I have always loved cooking and eating food. I believe you should enjoy your job.  So there was no better option for me really. Mum let me cook whatever I wanted at home and I had my parents and two sisters as taste testers. I studied hospitality at school and really enjoyed that and was good at it and it was then I realised that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Culinary childhood memories (e.g. Who did the cooking at home? Did you watch or participate? Favorite dishes that you still occasionally prepare?) 

Mum cooked a lot at home, but when I was old enough I always liked to do the cooking and try things in cookbooks for myself. I’ve always lived on the land so we have always slaughtered our own meat (beef, pork and chicken) and at one stage we had a huge veg garden so that was always good as well. My grandma would always cook with us when we visited so that was always fun to do. We still always have sponge cake or piklets when we visit.

At what age did you first enter the foodservice industry? What was your first job?

I did my hospitality certificate in high school, then I did work experience at hotels, cafés and restaurants. I moved to Sydney alone when I was 17 to attend Le Cordon Bleu six days a week. My first job was at 18 at Il Centro here in Brisbane.

What were important stepping stones to reach your current position?

A lot of hard work I guess. Full time studying in Sydney right after high school. And then working my hardest at every job and soaking up any and all information, recipes and skills that I could from everyone I worked with. Networking with other industry professionals and joining the ACF has helped me also.

Did you or do you have a mentor? 

My parents have always been mentors for me. They have helped me get where I am. Mum owns her own property in a male dominated industry and she’s showed me that I too can be great in a male dominated industry. My old head chef Rhian has always been a mentor for me, taught me a lot and supported and encouraged me to do well and to do competitions.

What, if any, problems did you encounter in your career?

I can’t say I’ve had many problems at all. Finding a job once I finished at Le Cordon Bleu was the hardest thing for me. I expressed interest once for the national team, and was told that although I was passionate and ready now, one day I’d meet a boy and wanted to get married and have children. Although this may be true, I didn’t see why I was being discrimated against for this, I was slightly hurt by the comment but it just drove me to want to prove them wrong, and now here I am on the state team, the only female on the state team. So here’s to proving them wrong.

What, if any, was the greatest obstacle?

I guess I’m lucky, I haven’t had much trouble ever.

What is the male/female ratio in your current job? 

5 females, 6 males. Although my last job I was the only female working with 5-6 males.

Describe your current work conditions (including average hours per day spent on the job; do you work weekends/holidays? do you have changing shifts?)

I work 10-12 hours a day, no weekends usually. We do a Saturday every now and then if there is a wedding. No public holidays. My shifts don’t change too much. 1 day shift and 4 night shifts

Are you single, married or in a partnership?

Single.

Do you have support from your family and network of friends?

I have the full support of all my family, friends and work colleagues, both from my current job and my past jobs. My sisters especially travel long distances just to see me come and compete, are always there to see my photos of practices and to taste anything I make for both menus and comps. My family have come into my workplaces on multiple occasions to taste nearly every dish on every menu while I worked there.

What is your advice to young women entering your specific field?

Go for it. Be passionate. Be yourself. Prove yourself if need be, some people need that. Don’t let anyone treat you differently!

What are your interests outside the culinary field?

Can’t say I have many. I like to read and watch movies. Travel. I like going home to our property and working there too.

Do you manage to integrate those interests in your life? 

Most of the time I do. I spend most holidays at my parents.

What are personal and professional interests that you would like to pursue within the next 5 years? 

I’d like to continue to compete. I’d like to open my own dessert and cocktail bar. So anything I can do to get closer to pursuing that goal would be great. Possibly do my baker’s apprenticeship as well.

In your opinion, does the foodservice industry adequately address problems specific to women? 

I think so. I’ve never had problems so I guess I’m lucky.

Would you be willing to be a mentor to other women in WACS?

I would love to be a mentor to other women.

 

 

 

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