My name is Alex Kolberg and I am the head chef of a small business in Adelaide called ‘The Taxpayer’.
I started working there 3 years ago as a kitchen hand after gaining employment from my mentor Kristian Livolsi. There’s something magical and mysterious about food and the ability it has to take people places whether that be internally or externally.
It can bring delight into people’s lives. When all is said and done that really is one of few things that naturally matters to everyone.
I knew from around 14 years old that I wanted to be a chef. It was my first inspiration towards doing something with my life that would make a difference to someone elses.
When I was 16 I had enrolled into a Commercial cookery VET course.
This was the time my first taste of discrimination landed. Being legally blind is somewhat challenging, being looked at from my school and tafe teacher as a liability or an incompetent student was even more challenging.
From that point was when I found my burning motivation, my fuel to conquer goals in the face of adversity.
At the age of 18 I found myself having a hard time gaining any employment. Everywhere I went I was turned down because of my vision impairment.
I turned to the RSB (Royal Society for the Blind) for help. There I met my good friend Cathrin from employment services who spent a year with me getting me further educated as well as having me volunteer for a year to make it impossible for any employer to say no.
Then, at the end of 2013 I met Kristian and Frank who would soon become my employers and best mates. They took me on with no looking back and I was granted the opportunity to prove myself.
To prove to everyone whom had ever bullied me that I could achieve more than they could ever hope to. It didn’t take me long to ‘move up the ranks’ so to speak, Kristian knew I was sharp and passionate to learn and his method of training was a sink or swim effect. I was thrown in the deep end time and time again and learnt to swim every time.
My biggest fear has always been to disappoint him, which I’m sure I have along the way at some point.
Though the idea is to swim harder and stronger towards success when that happens. I was blessed 2 years later to be offered partnership with Kristian and Frank in the business and be moved to the role of head chef, because they trusted me and they knew I was hungry for responsibility.
I am grateful to all those around ma that have supported my journey thus far.