The Culinary Institute of New Zealand (CINZ) is a boutique hospitality school based in Kerikeri in New Zealand's far north. With a small group of dedicated students and tutors, travelling the three hours to Auckland to compete in one of New Zealand’s premier hospitality industry competitions with students from all over the country is a big deal.
And an even bigger deal when the team comes away with the top spot - Training Team of the Year!
The City & Guilds New Zealand Team Skills competition saw seven teams of trainee chefs go head-to-head to cook and serve six plates of a three course meal to a panel of judges and guests.
The CINZ winning team comprised chefs, Chelsea Johnston and Tracy Todd and front-of-house, Daniel Alzate.
The team won a number of gold and silver medals to propel them to Overall Training Team of the year, and a $NZ7000 prize package. They were the team with the most marks overall from the three categories: kitchen work, tasting of the dishes and all elements of the restaurant service.
The team also won the Innovation Award for use of sour dough bread in a dessert.
Training for the competition began in March.
“It was intense training. Lots of hours. Lots of blood, sweat and tears, but it was an amazing experience,” says CINZ student and winning team member, Chelsea.
Culinary Institute Manager, Jon Sefton, said it was great to see his team get recognition for all of their hard work.
“It’s fantastic that the team have been rewarded for all of their hard work and dedication. We have pulled a lot of late nights training, practicing over and over again, tweaking and refining. We couldn’t have asked for a better result.”
The students say the competition was an excellent learning experience, giving them the opportunity to get a feel for how hot it really is in the kitchen!
“It was the first competition I had entered and it was an awesome learning experience,” says CINZ student and winning team member Daniel.
“It was a very proud moment winning, I couldn’t believe it. It was unbelievable to hear our names being called out at the prize giving."
Congratulations Chelsea, Tracy and Daniel!