A FORMER Kingaroy man is set to join the ranks of Colin Fassnidge's elite chefs at his Sydney restaurant.
The My Kitchen Rules celebrity chef has hired 23-year-old Dan Weier to work at Surry Hills venue 4Fourteen.
It is a long way from his culinary foundations in the South Burnett, where he lived until he was 15.
"As a kid, I always loved cooking and did the hospitality courses in high school," Dan said.
Dan started his school-based apprenticeship when he was in Year 11, and became fully qualified when he was 19.
For the past two years he has worked at Eat at Dan and Steph's, a Hervey Bay restaurant owned by My Kitchen Rules 2013 winners Dan and Steph Mulheron.
Steph said she and her husband felt Dan had more to offer in the kitchen, and knew Fassnidge was on the hunt for new chefs.
"He's got his head screwed on and he knows what he wants to do. He has dreams and aspirations," she said.
"We loved that we could give him the opportunity."
Dan said chefs were rarely offered the opportunity to work for such a big name.
"Even to have Dan and Steph on my resume to start off with is a big achievement," he said.
"For these guys to pass me on to Colin Fassnidge, a very renowned chef, not only in the industry but in TV... I'm super stoked with these guys."
Dan said he was "over the moon" about his career shift.
"Especially moving down there, coming from Kingaroy to Sydney, the big smoke, it's going to bit a full-on for starters," he said.
Dan said his passion for the job helped him move up in the culinary world.
"If you want to go places or go high up in a restaurant, you need to put 100 per cent in," he said.
"You've got to put in the time and the effort or you don't get recognised.
"You've got to have passion for it."
Dan returned to the region on Sunday to cook at the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival with Dan and Steph.
"I think the last time I went I would have been 10 or 12. I think I did the roll then," he said.
"It's certainly gotten a lot bigger. It just goes to show what the region is bringing."
Dan described the pumpkin as a versatile vegetable.
"As a kid I hated it, but you develop a taste for it, and as a chef you have to use every ingredient under the sun," he said.
"I think the best way of using it would be in gnocchi."