A YOUNG chef determined to set his own course instead of the more accepted school-followed-by-university route is reaping the rewards and kicking goals.
Balnarring resident Kobi Watson, who runs his own restaurant, Kobi Jack’s at McCrae, said he had been determined not to embark on a “pointless” tertiary course just for the sake of it and coming out at the other end not really knowing what he wanted to do.
Watson, 19, says he was an above average student at Dromana Secondary College when he “basically just got sick of school”.
So, while going through the motions of getting ready for Year 11, he took the brave step of recalibrating his future. “I’d already selected my subjects,” he said. “But over the holidays I started to see the bigger picture and decided I wasn’t going back.
“That shocked some people and I was even told by some teachers that I was wrecking my future and narrowing my pathways.
“I knew there was more to life than doing a uni course but not really being passionate about what I was supposed to be doing. I know there are many others feeling that way.
“I’d been casually working and making lots of money in cafes and restaurants as a 15-16 year old and I thought: ‘You know what? This is for me. I started a chef’s apprenticeship.
My dream was to one day open a restaurant and create a space where I can cook the food I love – classic Italian cuisine.” That dream is now a reality.
With the new school year about to start many young people must be wrestling with the same dilemmas: continue school or start work?
“It would nice to shed some light on that hot topic,” Watson said. “At 17 I was a qualified chef, have had numerous opportunities to travel, had no hex fees, and was working earning money.
“Education is a life-long journey and there is more than just one way to study.”
Watson will celebrate his pizza restaurant’s second birthday on 2 February.
“There are wonderful opportunities for young people in hospitality on the Mornington Peninsula especially if they are willing to have a crack,” he said.
“There are lots of kids who didn’t get the ATAR they wanted but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a future.”