The Gordon’s $23.5M culinary school and world-class restaurant opens in Geelong

Subscribe to Forte Magazine


The Gordon’s $23.5M culinary school and world-class restaurant opens in Geelong

1 / 14

Inspiring a new generation of chefs and culinary professionals, a brand-new state-of-the-art $23.5 million culinary school and training restaurant has been officially opened at The Gordon Institute of TAFE Geelong City campus.

Further elevating Geelong’s reputation as a primary foodie destination, The Gordon Institute of TAFE’s brand-new state-of-the-art food and hospitality training facilities for the next generation of chefs and hospitality professionals has officially opened.

Having undergone a $23.5 million dollar redevelopment, the highly anticipated Culinary School and training restaurant have redefined the Geelong City campus, transforming the space into a stunningly refurbished culinary precinct.

Keep up with the latest food and booze news across the region here.

The truly mind-blowing redevelopment of the TAFEs original 135-year-old building embraces history and new technology to deliver a purpose-built state-of-the-art culinary precinct that will be used by students studying Commercial Cookery and Patisserie and Bakery. It will also offer short courses, such as barista training, to help create a pipeline of hospitality workers for the region ahead of major events, like the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.

The redevelopment includes the iconic Davidson restaurant, where guests can enjoy native Australian-influenced cuisine. The Davidson is now open for a la carte dining and functions with Daniel Brehaut being the Executive Chef.

It will be joined in early 2023 by the new Barista School, Social café, the Culinary Academy demonstration kitchen and Share Plate conference space. All spaces will be utilised for educational and commercial use and incorporate state-of-the-art commercial kitchens along with alfresco dining. A catering service will also be available for local businesses and corporate events. 

Meticulously designed by Architects Gray Puksand, it was Kane Constructions delivered the refurbishment while the development was overseen by  project managers TSA.

“The Gordon’s Culinary Precinct is a cornerstone of our Education Vision for Geelong  and exemplifies The Gordon’s commitment to growing skills across the region. With  the assistance of the State Government, the redevelopment has transformed our  facilities into a world-class hospitality and cookery training centre, capable of  competing locally, nationally and internationally,” says Joe Ormeno, CEO of The Gordon.

“The new facilities are anticipated to train an additional 579 students, including 275 new apprentices and trainees over four years. We will deliver the skills needs of our booming hospitality industry – and  the needs of our community for strong pathways to employment.”

Officially opened by The Hon. Gayle Tierney MP, Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education and Christine Couzens MP, Member for Geelong, the new training facilities attracted leading industry professionals from the region to the recent launch. Television personality and food journalist Matt Preston joined the activities while renowned chef Matt Podbury (of La Cachette) led an entertaining cooking demonstration as guests explored and discovered the expanded hospitality and cookery facilities. 

It’s no secret Greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Bellarine peninsula boasts a plethora of wining and dining hotspots, many with Gordon alumni at the helm. Alongside Podbury, past students Jo Barret, Shane Delia, Tobin Kent and Dwayne Bourke, impressed at the grand opening, each demonstrating ingenuity, passion, and an unrelenting drive to adapt and thrive. Their stories were bought to life through a panel discussion with a few notable guests asking questions including Matt Preston, Jeroen Weimer and the Hon. Gayle Tierney MP.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Davidson (@thedavidsonrestaurant)

“With exceptional restaurants, hotels, catering businesses and well-established food  and wine trails, Geelong’s reputation as a regional culinary centre is going from  strength to strength. This state-of-the-art culinary training precinct will continue to  grow this reputation of excellence by providing real-world work experience for  aspiring chefs and hospitality workers,” says Leonie Mills, Commercial Food and Hospitality Manager.

“Our team of inspired professionals have  created modern, cutting-edge facilities that ensure the highest level of culinary and  hospitality education. With experience across our diverse commercial operations, our  graduates will be equipped to thrive in Geelong’s flourishing food scene.” 

As the region prepares to host major international events and visitors, the magnificently restored Culinary Precinct, outfitted with the latest technology and equipment will play a key role in skilling the workforce. Offering specialised cookery and patisserie courses, the Institute will grow the skill sets of both newcomers and established chefs. 

You can find out more here and keep up to date with what is happening in The Davidson restaurant and the broader Culinary Collective here.