Catering Gigs for NorthTec students

15 July 2022

Catering Gigs for NorthTec students

NorthTec hospitality and cookery students got the chance to show off their recently acquired cooking and front-of-house skills at the 2022 Environmental Awards.

NorthTec tutors Hughie Blues and Amanda Turner are often contacted to cater for local events. They use these gigs as a way of giving their cooking and front-of-house ākonga relevant industry experience.

“It’s a great way for them to experience the real deal in a working kitchen,” says Hughie Blues, NorthTec tutor for the NZ Diploma in Cookery (Level 4). “They gain the experience they need in the industry under expert guidance, and they get paid to do it. It’s a win-win.”

This is the third time the Environmental Awards event has been catered by NorthTec students and was once again a resounding success.

“It was a really busy night,” says Hayley Anderson, a NorthTec student in the Trades Academy for Hospitality Services. “We were serving food, running the bar, clearing dishes. We were run off our feet, but it was a great night.”

With over 100 guests in attendance, the students got a great snapshot of what work in the industry is really like. It also helped solidify skills and techniques learnt in class.

“I finally understood why Amanda had us doing things in certain ways,” admits Zanthia Ross. “I never understood why we had to stack a fridge in a certain way until I was running back and forwards getting drinks. It all made sense very quickly. It’s great to be able to learn all the tricks before you get into the industry.”

The students doing the NZ Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) use some class time to prepare food the day before the event. On the day, cookery and front-of-house students are hired as cooks and waitstaff.

“I build this event into the lesson plan for the year,” Hughie explains. “We use class time to do a lot of the background work. The students brainstorm ideas on what they want to cook; they design the menus, work out the costs and make sure it all meets the budget. Any out-of-class time used to prepare is also paid for.”

This year, the NorthTec students were joined in the kitchen by their tutor Hughie, Kevin McAdams (another NorthTec Cookery tutor), and Tobias Wilkinson, an industry chef currently doing his postgraduate studies with Otago Polytechnic.

The Environmental Awards are not the only events where NorthTec students get to hone their skills and showcase their learning. Amanda, Hughie, and the NorthTec ākonga are scheduled to cater for the Bernina Northland Fashion Awards in August 2022, with more events booked for later in the year.

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