Secondary school cookery students Nolan Forrest, from Napier’s Taradale High School and Laura Mallon from Lincoln High School in Christchurch, were the winners of The Ultimate Work Experience, a competition run by career portal www.nzskillsconnect.co.nz.
The coveted prize package, giving the winners the opportunity to go behind the scenes of several high-profile Auckland hospitality businesses, and even roll up their sleeves to help, was hotly contested by Year 12 and 13 cookery students all around New Zealand.
The prize started with flights to Auckland on Sunday March 25th, and accommodation at the Sudima Auckland Airport Hotel. After Laura and Nolan had a guided front of house tour of the new 4.5 star hotel, professional career advisors and recruitment company Martarni Associates talked with them about their future as chefs and gave them some tips on how to go about achieving their goals.
It was an early start for the students the following day, beginning with breakfast at The Depot, chef, author and TV personality Al Brown’s new restaurant in Federal Street. Chef Kyle Street took them to visit the Auckland wholesale produce markets, to see where The Depot and many other restaurants source their fresh ingredients.
Hospitality giant SKYCITY was the next stop. They toured the vast kitchens with Paul Doyle, Executive Chef Conferencing, who gave them insight into the catering demands he and his team deal with every day, feeding the many customers in SKYCITY’s restaurants and convention centre.
Then it was the turn of Yael Shochat, the owner and chef of restaurant Ima Cuisine to show them around her kitchen. Yael gave them a generous taste of her Israeli-Mediterranean fare and talked about how great food can lift customers’ spirits.
After a quick visit to the Auckland fish markets, the students headed back to the hotel to report for kitchen duty, helping to cook that evening’s dinner. Among the guests they then joined at the table were Les Morgan, General Manager of the Sudima Auckland Airport Hotel and the hotel’s Head Chef.
After this action-packed ultimate work experience, Laura and Nolan went back to school with a greater understanding of the varied and exciting career that being a chef offers, and with ideas on how they can further develop their skills. As Laura says, “I am now certain that hospitality is definitely a career for me!”
As a bonus, both students took home a crisp white chef jacket, signed by chef Al Brown and others they visited, as a practical memento of their backstage pass.
All the businesses who hosted Laura and Nolan are keen supporters of fostering young talent. They generously gave their time and insight to encourage the Ultimate Work Experience winners to plan a future career in the vibrant hospitality industry.
For more information, contact email@example.com, or call Blair Hillyard, on 027 244 2547
NZSkillsConnect is a career portal jointly owned and operated by the Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organisation (ATTTO) and the Hospitality Standards Institute (HSI). Both these industry training organisations also work with secondary schools to encourage future stars into careers in aviation, hospitality and tourism.