Australian Stories: The Demo Club helps Chef Egbert settle down in Broken Hill | TSS Recruitment

Australian Stories: The Demo Club helps Chef Egbert settle down in Broken Hill

  • Andrew Silverman

There aren’t too many outback cities where the locals are prouder of their town than in Broken Hill. Isolated yet with a rich mining history, 19th-century architecture and a modern art scene makes Australia’s first ever heritage listed town one of our most appealing and authentic regional centres.

The social hub of the town is The Barrier Social Democratic Club or The Demo Club and where Egbert Geneblazo has been cooking for the past 18 months.

Egbert first came to our attention while working on one of the world’s largest cruise lines, Costa Cruises. From his early days on the ships, his potential was obvious, leading to early and continual promotions. This was where his dream of settling down with his family in Australia took its first steps towards realisation.

“Despite working internationally as a chef, I really wanted to come to Australia. My priority was always my family and especially my children,” says Egbert.

The isolation, loneliness and long months at sea away from his wife and children gave him plenty of time to think about other opportunities and possibilities.

“Working on the ships I was separated from my wife and children for up to 11 months a year. I love being a father but missed so much of them growing up. I made up my mind to work harder and bring my family to Australia so we could have a better life and all be together again”.

Egbert Found TSS online and put the wheels in motion to make his dreams come true. For a process he thought would be difficult – at least initially – his TSS experience is one he looks back on fondly.

“TSS were approachable and knowledgeable from the start. They made it easy for me and I never experienced any hardship with them” says Egbert.

“They found me a wonderful employer, helped with my visa and provided me with a chance to raise my kids in Australia where they can have all the opportunities they never would have had in the Philippines”.

This was the Demo Clubs first foray into 457 sponsorship and despite being in a remote town where the hiring of staff is an endless chore, sponsoring international chefs was something they never thought they would need.

Operations Manager, Ben Offord was apprehensive initially which for most businesses is common. However, apprehension turned to relief once the process was underway.

“This was my first experience hiring a staff member on a 457 visa. We found out about TSS through their email marketing but never did we think we would actually need to use it” says Ben. “We found most things pretty straight forward. We were kept up to date on the progress of Egbert’s visa application and this continued up until his start date. TSS do all the ground work so our job was so much easier”.

The club’s location was perhaps the main issue that made TSS a viable and realistic option. In regional and remote areas, talent pools are shallow and poaching is rife making it close to impossible to source and retain quality staff.

“Being in such a remote town, this option has proven worthy for us. Because of our sponsorship through TSS we have a variety of cultures in our kitchen and this, in turn, has given the club new life and a stronger work ethic” says Ben.

Chef Egbert

The Demo Club has since moved on to sponsor another chef through TSS. Originally from Fiji, she and her family also enjoy all that Australia and Broken Hill has to offer and Ben couldn’t be happier.

“The TSS service has continued and a strong relationship has developed between us. I have absolutely no hesitation recommending this program to fellow clubs and hotels”.

For Egbert, the lonely life at sea is a distant memory.

“I am very thankful for a good employer and cannot ask for more. They have supported me and my family from the very start and continue to do so,” says Egbert.

“Arriving here was very hard but Demo Club helped me bring my wife Haydee and my children Eduard 15 and Eleana 11 here only 4 months later. They helped with accommodation and a local school for the kids. They love Australia. It’s home now and finally, everything in life is in its place”.