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, which specialises in teaching independence skills to young adults with disabilities and autism, is located in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast and 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, a premier event which 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.

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.

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

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 where 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, with the budding chefs 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, it’s also an excellent communicator,” McLeod says.

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

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, which the students had prepared specially to thank McLeod for his support.

“The success of any cafe is as much about the quality of food and coffee as it is about hospitality, and the students gave both in spades,” McLeod says. 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, with his career extending 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 especially for the event.

Tickets to the STEPS Grand Winter Ball are now on sale. To join McLeod and raise money for a great cause, go to thestepsgrandwinterball.com to grab your tickets before they sell out.