Profile

Sydney Brooks

Pioneer Year

2000 (RIP)

Sydney Brooks commenced his career as an apprentice at a leading hotel in central London, England. He concentrated his efforts in the pastry section of the kitchen, as well as attending Westminster Technical College on a day release program. Sydney excelled in his chosen profession and soon became a well-respected member of the hotels brigade. Soon after completing his apprenticeship, the government declared World War 2 and Sydney received his orders to sign up in the British army. Given his excellent technical cookery knowledge, Sydney was drafted into the army catering division where he was responsible for directing the operation of the officer’s mess, as well as the NCOs and the other ranks mess at several large army bases, in England and overseas. At the end of the war, Sydney returned to London and resumed his civil career in the West-end. He worked in several of the leading hotels and restaurants as a specialist pastry chef and won several awards at the Hotel Olympia Culinary Competitions. In 1955, Sydney responded to a call from Australia House in London for qualified chefs to work in Melbourne at the 1956 Olympic games. Australia House representatives eagerly accepted his application. So in 1956 he set sail for Australia with his wife Silvia and four young children to a whole new adventure in a vast new continent, Australia. The initial contract was for three months with an option to return to England or be given the right to become a permanent resident of Australia. Sydney and his family chose to stay in Australia. His contribution to the catering fraternity has been immense. After working at the Olympic Village in Heidelberg until the end of the Olympic games, Sydney obtained a position at the Royal Melbourne Children’s Hospital where he remained until he retired twenty years later at the age of 65.During this time, Sydney was actively involved in helping to establish the first Guild of Cooks in Australia in 1960. This was a division of the Catering Institute of Australia. In 1972 Sydney was instrumental with Cyril Butler and Ael Bailey in sending Australia’s’ very first National Culinary Olympic Team to Germany (Pioneer Frank de Koning was in that team with Harry Khan, Pioneer Claudio Magris, Les Smith and Cyril Butler). Sydney’s proudest moment was in 2000 when he was recognized by the Les Toques Blanches Victoria and presented with Pioneer status, Silvia his loving wife told how he cried when he received the Pioneer Medallion and Award.