Mr S Cheliah

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (14:39): I thank the honourable member for his question and note that he is an absolute whiz in the kitchen. I am excited to update the house on the outstanding achievement of one of our correctional services case management coordinators, Sashi Cheliah—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: —the latest winner of MasterChef Australia. What an outstanding result! I'm sure there are many members in this place who have been absolutely glued to their television sets over the past few months, so Sashi and his success will be of no news to them. For those who have not had the time or perhaps the inclination to catch up on MasterChef, I am pleased to provide a bit of background information on South Australia's second MasterChef winner.

As I mentioned, Sashi is a case management coordinator at the Adelaide Women's Prison where his day-to-day role includes engaging with prisoners in custody from their initial admission through to their final day in custody. Sashi was born in Singapore and, as the eldest of seven children, was introduced to food through his mother's cafe. He grew up helping his mother and aunty cook meals for their growing family. It was his younger years spent cooking and eating Indian, Malaysian and Chinese food and his love for food all round that inspired Sashi's cooking and led to a record score of 93 out of 100—the highest ever result for a MasterChef Australia winner.

Sashi's wife, Rabicca, and his two young sons, Marcus and Ryan, were with Sashi during the final cook, supporting him from the sidelines and cheering him on, as were many South Australians. Before moving to Australia in 2011, Sashi was based in the STAR unit of the Singapore Police Force for nearly a decade. Not unlike the skills you need to compete in MasterChef, Sashi is highly trained in dealing in special tactics and rescue operations.

Of course, Sashi's success builds on that of previous South Australians, including former winner Adam Liaw, runner up Callum Hann, Andre Ursini, Laura Cassai and Poh, not to mention other excellent contestants who have competed from our great state along the way. I understand that Sashi has indicated that his post-MasterChef success will see him working with people in custody, helping to improve the skills of prisoners and link them with opportunities in the food and hospitality industry on the outside.

Sashi collected $250,000 prize money and he is talking about opening potentially a restaurant in the city or maybe in Prospect. I might try to entice him down to Brighton as well, if we can. His idea of working with prisoners to improve their skills for when they are released, I think, is absolutely wonderful, and I know that a number of the industry programs that are happening through the Department of Correctional Services within the prison system are absolutely outstanding.

In the Women's Prison, they actually have a new kitchen facility in the Ruby Unit, and that is improving the skills of people so that when they leave prison they can give back to the community, get a job and pay their way through being constructive members of society. I have also been down to the Mount Gambier Prison, the Port Augusta Prison, Yatala as well, and some of the industry operations happening there are with furniture work, metalwork, creating industrial bins.

The sewing groups are absolutely outstanding. They are doing some really good work and these prisoners are getting the skills they need to get back and engage in the workforce after serving, which gives them the opportunity to give back to society, which is outstanding. This is all factual stuff. None of this has just been gleaned from Facebook. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sashi on his success—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD: —and thank him for the outstanding work that he has done within our correctional services sector.

Authorised by Corey Wingard MP, Member for Gibson. Level 2, 1 Milham Street Oaklands Park SA 5046. ©Copyright / Legal / Login