It's said the best way to learn is to throw yourself in the deep end, and that was certainly the case for a group of young chefs in the making on Tuesday night. The aspiring chefs are made up of 13 students from Francis Greenway, Maitland, Cessnock, Kurri Kurri, Dungog and Rutherford Technology high schools, Wyong Christian School and St Joseph's College, Lochinvar. Each student was successful in applying for the Yes Chef! program, where they spent a jam-packed five days across three weeks learning hospitality from the best. The students attended TAFE classes and studied under Rydges Resort Hunter Valley executive chef Jason Hawker to learn a delicious menu, which they then put to the test by catering for 60 people at Rydges Redsalt Restaurant. Rutherford Technology High School student Kimberley Lowe, 17, said she has learnt a lot about knife skills and proper hygienic practices, and was looking forward to catering the event. Her mum and a teacher from school were coming along to enjoy the meal and see her in action. "[I'm looking forward to] seeing everyone sitting down and making sure they enjoy their meals, and looking at it being like oh I created that, you're eating something I made," she said. In other news: The students' menu featured an entree of a bread roll with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and salsa of mango, avocado, red onion, coriander, red and green chilli and finger lime. The main was a southern prime rib eye, with yorkshire pudding, sauteed Warrigal greens and mountain pepper roasted potatoes. The final course was lemon myrtle creme brulee with biscotti. Kimberley said there were a few elements of the menu which were challenging to make. "The creme brulee, I'd never heard of that before, and probably the prawns I had never made prawns myself," she said. Dungog High School student Sam Knowles, 16, also took on the Yes Chef! program. He is very interested in pursuing a hospitality career, following in his dad's footsteps, who is a chef at the Royal Hotel, Dungog. Sam said a big takeaway from him was how to sous vide a steak. "I've never seen steak get cooked in water before," he said. Sam is very grateful for chef Jason's guidance at Rydges. "I'm sure for all the Yes Chef! students we're very thankful to chef Jason and all the other chefs who taught us along the way," he said. "[He taught us] the importance of teamwork and working together." Yes Chef! is funded by the Department of Education's Regional Industry Education Partnerships (RIEP) program.