PICTURE yourself in a restaurant enjoying freshly prepared food: roasted pumpkin salad with tamarind dressing, lamb shanks with prosciutto on cheesy potato, then wrapping it all up with a cappuccino tiramisu.
Top chef stuff in the city?
Not a bit of it: school kids at the Mike Hicks-inspired Outback Steakhouse project.
All this came together for the Penrith Chamber of Commerce lunch this month when senior students from Nepean High School (entrees), Glenmore Park High (mains) and Kingswood High School (desserts) prepared lunch for business guests, teaching staff and parents.
The project, brought to the Steakhouse by Mr Hicks, who had run something similar in Britain, was the culmination of a schoolmaster chef project, with the students from these three schools the winners.
But they didn't just impress with their culinary skills. Each course was preceded by a video on the school and the dishes, complete with bloopers.
The Outback Steakhouse lunches this year have followed themes — the previous two were Courage and Character — with the schoolchildren presenting the final one for the year: Challenge.
They mastered the challenge so well that one of the students has been offered casual work with Mr Hicks and his team.
"We have been proud to showcase the three schools in what has been a very close contest, " Mr Hick told guests. "The journey for the schools has been very important and we hope to do more with businesses and schools in the future."