About Alan Stebbing
Alan Stebbing had an interest in food and cooking from a very young age. He was encouraged by his mother – who made all her own jams and preserves – and his father who had a wonderful garden with fruit trees and vegetables. At fifteen years old Alan could turn out a wonderful cream sponge and delight his family members.
In 1949 his father sought an apprenticeship for him but there were no positions. Alan says that commercial cooking was very limited then and most people who held these jobs were either migrants or ex-servicemen who had been cooks during World War II. Eager to keep his interest in food alive, his parents enrolled him into a six-month commercial cookery course at the William Angliss Food Trades School in June 1949. This was a full-time course and was mostly attended by ex-servicemen and men being rehabilitated after the war. He remembers Max Dalton was attending the course run by Chef
Walter Zimmerman. There were two women in the course.
On completing Alan gained an apprenticeship at the Commercial Traveller's Club (now the Rendezvous Hotel) Flinders Street Melbourne. He was on trial for three months then became full time for five years. During this time he attended William Angliss with a small group of apprentice cooks from other Melbourne establishments for four years. He recalls:
William Angliss was a good start for me in my apprenticeship. Walter Zimmerman was in charge and Norma Finley did a bit of demonstrating but Walter was the only chef while I was there. Norma did lectures in the afternoon and was "Master of Apprentices".
Alan was a dedicated apprentice and was recognised with the Walter Troedel Award in 1953:
I used to get ideas at William Angliss and would come back to CTC and tell my boss – he would incorporate these ideas into the menu. I learned to decorate glasses with egg white and coloured sugar crystals I would do this for special events at CTC. I was keen to learn French so I bought French records and practiced speaking and writing French so that I could write the menus up in French. This put me in good favour with Miss Findley. In 1952 I was named best apprentice of the year. In 1953, I received letter from Melbourne Wine and Food Society, a very prestigious club in July. I was to be presented with the Walter Troedel Award at a special dinner at the Yin Bun Lo Oriental Restaurant in Melbourne. The guest-speaker was Oliver Shawl the top man of Federal Hotels in Melbourne. I received a five-pound prize and a medal. Keith Dunstan was there – from Melbourne Sun – he wrote about the dinner and my award in the Herald Sun. The Age reported it as well. Sir William Angliss presented the award to him at the school. It is one of my treasured possessions.
Alan finished his apprenticeship in 1955 and stayed on at CTC. John Miller had been head chef and he left to travel overseas. After leaving the CTC Alan worked briefly at Monsanto Chemicals then moved to Kraft Foods in Port Melbourne. He also ran a cooking school for Army Reserves and managed the Army Headquarters kitchen in St Kilda Rd. He also ran the catering for Melbourne Grammar School and is very proud that he changed the style of food served at the Boarding school from "watered down milk and prison-style food" to satisfying food for growing young men.
Alan's oldest son also studied at William Angliss.
Summary of the InterviewInterviewer: Jill Adams
Interviewee: Alan Stebbing
Date of Interview: 30/08/2010
Recording Format: MP3
||Cooking as an interest
||Garden; jam; cream sponge
||Pursuing a Cooking Career
||William Angliss Institute (WAI); apprenticeship; 1949
||WAI- Renewal after World War Two
||World War Two; Max Dalton (an officer);
Commercial cookery; Ernest Seaton
||Commercial Travellers’ Club
(CTC); Flinders Street
||WAI Commercial Cookery Course, 1949
|Melbourne Town Hall; crayfish; ham; potato salad; quenelles; aspic; snapper; carrots; mayonnaise; electric oven; dough hook
||Reflections on Apprenticeship
||Food Trade School; John Miller; John & Ron Wormell; The Hotel Windsor; The Grand Hotel Frankston; Keith Dickson; Bill Clark; Scott’s Hotel Collins Street; Peter Webb; Myer Mural Hall; Norma Finley; Master of Apprentices; Assistant Principal Mr Jones; wages; 1950; Commercial Travellers’ Club
||Hospitality Industry in the 1950s
||Melbourne; Olympic Games; ‘broken’ shifts; Commercial Travellers’ Club; New Zealand Sole
||Shift in Hospitality Industry brought on by Olympic Games
||Working at Commercial Travellers’ Club
||1955; Commercial Travellers’ Club; Rendezvous Hotel; John Miller; Commercial Liners- Cumulous, Nimbus, Stratus; Europe;
||Chef John Miller’s Legacy
||John Miller, George Hilf; TAFE; Olympic Games;
||Classes at WAI
||Commercial Travellers’ Club; National Service; Walter Zimmerman
||Commercial Travellers’ Club in the 1950s
||Commercial Travellers’ Club; President’s Night; sugar crystals; egg whites; seafood cocktail; pastry; sausage rolls
||Commercial Travellers’ Club 1952 Menu
||Commercial Travellers’ Club; Percy Hall; English; New Zealand Sole; prawns; plaice; larder cook; kitchen-man; steaks; mis-on-place; American Apple pie; Chicken Maryland; shortcrust; canned apples; chicken breast; pineapple fritter; sweet corn fritter; potato croquette; peas; side dishes; jacket potato; Brown Sauce; Tony Edsall; Chef Andy Urich; Melbourne Oyster Supply; Watkins Butchers
|Career Highlights 1960s-1980s
||Monsanto Chemicals; Footscray; Aspro; Unilever; EOI Lever; Rexona; Charles Abbot; Australian Institute of Management; Port Melbourne; Catering Institute of Australia; Andre Le Nosier; Kraft Foods; Union; Army Reserve; General Motors; Commonwealth Aircraft; stews; braises; roasts; grills; bulk; Sandwich Bars; Jams; Supermarket; Sergeant; Food Trade Shows and Exhibitions
||French Louis; French Pastry (Choux); glazed foods; fruit jellies; Commercial Travellers’ Club; Bread and Butter Custard; Jam and/or rum omelette; dessert; Bombe Alaska; Bombe Vesuvius; criss-cross; blowtorch; French; Miss Finley; Walter Troedel Award; Melbourne Wine and Food Society; Oliver Shawl; Federal Hotel Association; Summit Sydney; Herald Sun; Keith Dunstan; The Age; Yin Bun Lo Oriental Restaurant; Sir William Angliss; Keith Dunstan; Victoria Cross Medal; RAAF; World War Two; Bicycle Riders’ Club; The Shrine of Remembrance; RJ Emerson; Victorian Coffee Palace; Apprenticeship Commission; Antelope Award
||Army Reserves; South Melbourne; Sturt Street; Gipps Street; Richmond St Kilda Rd; Grosvenor House; Watsonia; TAFE; Puckapunyal; The Rock; Cerberus; Sir Stanford Hicks; beef; fish kedgeree; PAM 3 (recipes for 1500- bulk catering); bush oven
||Kraft; Melbourne Grammar School; Domain Street; Dingley; Luxton Dining Hall; Salad Bar; Church of England; Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne;
||End of Interview