An Education: Amina Elshafei & Kerrie Nelson


Aussie cook Amina Elshafei catches up with Principal of the Year, Kerrie Nelson to discuss her work in educating children with autism at Giant Steps.


A passion for education and supporting children through learning is what inspired 2021 Principal of the Year winner, Kerrie Nelson. As principal of Giant Steps, a school for children with autism, Nelson prides herself on her ability to nurture and engage her students whilst connecting a community of parents, teachers, and therapists with a common goal.

A highlight of Kerrie’s work is the children she interacts with each day, helping to understand them and support their learning; “We now have a paradigm where we can begin to unpack behaviour in a different way and be much more positively focussed on what we need to do as a set of adults. The onus was on us to change our practise and I'm really proud of that work.”

To celebrate Kerrie’s work, we invited cook and MasterChef alumni, Amina Elshafei to make her a delicious Date and Apricot Lamb Tagine. According to Amina, a legend is “someone who has a profound impact on… the community, somebody who mentors and who is a really wonderful guide for other people to follow in the footsteps.”

As a paediatric nurse for over 12 years, Amina shares a passion for helping children and recognises the immense value of Kerrie’s work; “It can be really rewarding, but very challenging as well... it's wonderful because you can see these kids growing up and that's the joy of the whole job… it's one of those jobs that is just invaluable.”

When it comes to lamb, Amina loves any kind of lamb dish that goes on the barbecue such lamb koftas and shish kebab. She says, “Being a Muslim, sharing lamb is also a religious component because we share it after the birth of a baby. It's a really important part of the ceremonies… also after a particularly religious festival.” On a similar note, Kerrie sees sharing a lamb roast as “that lovely sense of family, that really relaxed meal coming together and having a chat and a couple of glasses of wine.”

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