Celeb chef supports STEPS to success

30th June 2021 | Eativity editors

Chef and TV presenter Alastair McLeod has made a special visit to STEPS Pathways College. The innovative college specialises in teaching independence skills to young adults with disabilities and autism. Located in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, STEPS has been offering life-changing opportunities to young people since 2017.

McLeod’s appearance comes after the announcement that he will be lending his culinary skills to the STEPS Grand Winter Ball. This premier event raises money so that the STEPS Pathways College can continue to help young adults with disabilities and autism gain their independence, follow their passions and build a brighter future.

STEPS Pathways College
McLeod (at left) will be creating a three-course meal for the STEPS Ball.

“It’s such a wonderful opportunity to support a charity that does really great things for the community,” says McLeod, who was born in Belfast but now calls Brisbane home.

Scheduled for July 24 (COVID allowing), the fine-dining event has already stirred up plenty of support, with performers like Paulini also joining the line-up.

STEPS Pathways College
Learning to cook healthy food is just one of the many important life skills the students learn.

The language of food

During McLeod’s visit, the classically-trained chef took the time to look at two of STEPS Pathways College’s culinary spaces: the specialised kitchen where the students learn to cook, and the newly-built cafe. Here, students can gain a range of real-world employability skills, work experience and on-the-job training in a supported space.  

In the kitchen, McLeod watched the group of students cook local barramundi. The budding chefs were able to show off their skills and get some great positive feedback.

“It really highlighted that food and cooking is not only an important skill,” McLeod says. “It’s also an excellent communicator.”

STEPS Pathways College
STEPS student Sebastian just recently moved into his own independent living unit.

STEPS Pathways College needs your support

Later joining the students in the specialised cafe, Cafe on George, McLeod had the chance to try some of the college’s coffees and sandwiches. The students had prepared these specially to thank McLeod for his support.

“The success of any cafe is as much about the food and coffee as it is about hospitality,” McLeod says. “The students gave both in spades.”

The cafe is open to the public, with all proceeds going directly to the college.

McLeod’s culinary skills are sure to be a huge drawcard for the STEPS Grand Winter Ball. His career extends across multiple countries and Michelin-listed restaurants. To celebrate the students, the college, and the beauty of the Sunshine Coast, McLeod will be using locally-sourced ingredients to create dishes for the event.

Tickets to the STEPS Grand Winter Ball are now on sale. To join McLeod and raise money for a great cause, click here to book your ticket.