APPRENTICE chef Joseph O'Grady isn't stressed about having to represent the Northern Rivers in the World Skills Australia cooking competition in Sydney.
On August 28, he will go up against Australia's best apprentice chefs under the age of 21 for the chance to represent Australia in Germany later this year.
"It's a big deal but I can only do what I can do," the Ballina local said.
"I'm just excited to see how it is and to meet lots of other chefs."
He is 2 1/2 years into his apprenticeship at Fleurs Restaurant in Ballina and said exceptional training given to him will be a big advantage at the competition.
"I've been taught very well by two very good chefs and if I stuff up, I know how to fix it, so I'm not stressing out," he said.
During the first two days of the competition, chefs will be given specific ingredients, including a spatchcock and green tea that they must include in their dishes.
On the third and final day of the competition, competitors will be given a "mystery box". They will have to make a dish from unknown ingredients enclosed within it.
Being barely 18 and able to attend pubs and clubs for the first time hasn't distracted Mr O'Grady from concentrating on cooking.
"I'm not much of a drinker - I don't go out and party like a lot of my friends - I work at nights," he said.
"I love being around food and I love cooking.
"I always want to be good at whatever I'm doing and I've always wanted to be a chef."
The winner of the World Skills Australia cooking competition will be judged on taste, presentation, cleanliness, hygiene, knife skills and many other components.