Toi Ohomai Graduates Ready for Job Boom

Wednesday 29 May 2019, 3:33PM

By Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology


Toi Ohomai Culinary Arts Students at the Food for Thought Festival
Toi Ohomai Culinary Arts Students at the Food for Thought Festival Credit: Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology


New Zealand’s tourism and hospitality industry is one of the country’s largest employers, with international visitors increasing by eight per cent in the past year. 

And with the Government’s new forecast of 5.1 million visitors by 2024, hospitality and tourism staff are in high demand. 

With our culinary arts level 4 and 5 courses, Toi Ohomai is aiming to address this shortage with skilled graduates who are passionate about food and hospitality and bring valuable experience working with the best in the industry.  

For renowned chef Ian Harrisson, there is a need for people who are interested in building a career instead of seasonal, short-term staff. 

“We desperately need chefs with passion, determination and skills; people who want to build a career instead of just a part-time job,” says Ian. 

Pippa Kerrisk is one such chef.  

Pippa recently started a job at the hip new Clarence Bistro and Bar in Tauranga, after being recruited by Ian.

“I feel like having real world experience is really important – to be out of the classroom and have that time out in the industry is extremely important. We participated in many industry events during the course, including the Tauranga Food and Home Show’s live cooking theatre and the recent Food For Thought festival cook-off at Our Place Tauranga. 

“This gave us the opportunity to work with the best chefs in the Bay. That’s every student (and every chef’s) dream,” says Pippa.

Pippa is part of our June cohort of culinary arts graduates, who have all started to make their mark on this growing industry. 

“We’re always spoilt for choice when it comes to employing graduates from Toi Ohomai,” says Ian. 

According to Toi Ohomai’s chef tutor, Peter Blakeway, the key to producing the highest quality graduates lies in Toi Ohomai’s connection to industry and ability to involve students in industry events.

“While the classic values of professional chefs are as relevant today as they were 20 years ago, our industry is changing rapidly, with new trained chefs being required to demonstrate agility and grit,” says Peter. 

“Our industry is desperate for good chefs that can bring standards and passion to their craft. Our current tea, of tutors are some of the most impressive industry professionals that I’ve ever worked with. 

“For them, it’s not just about teaching young chefs, but being the bridge between the industry we love so much and the next generation that will change the world,” says Peter.

Peter is himself a renowned chef, with more than 30 years of experience as a chef, two published cookbooks and experience working with big industry players, including being the official New Zealand brand ambassador for Everdure barbeque by Heston Blumenthal.  

According to Ian, the Bay is full of potential and opportunity, making it the perfect place to be for any aspiring young chef. 

“Our regional future is looking bright, with a few Bay-born groups opening franchises in Auckland. You know you’ve made it when your food culture gets exported,” says Ian. 

Find more information about July intakes for Toi Ohomai’s culinary arts courses on the website