Aspiring chefs, bakers, baristas, and mixologists showed off their skills in the UCOL | Te Pūkenga annual Secondary Schools Hospitality Competitions
Competitions were held at the UCOL | Te Pūkenga Manawatū, Whanganui, and Wairarapa campuses, with students making their best cupcakes, omelettes, café sandwiches, pasta dishes, coffee, and mocktails.
The competitions are designed to give secondary school students a taste of competing in an industry-standard environment, and to test their skills against their peers.
UCOL | Te Pūkenga staff and industry professionals judged the competitions using World Association of Chefs' Societies protocols.
There were 120 entries across the three competitions, including students who entered multiple categories. The Wairarapa competition even attracted a team from Wainuiomata High School.
UCOL | Te Pūkenga Hospitality and Chef Programme Leader Ian Drew says he was impressed with the calibre of this year's entries and how the students handled the pressure of the competitions.
"I thought the standard was slightly higher than last year. This is our third year running the completion in Manawatū and second in Whanganui and Wairarapa, so the teachers and trainers know what the judges are looking for, which helps the students."
"Some classes were very competitive and hard to judge. For example, in Wairarapa we had three gold medals in the pasta class, so it was very close."
This year all students in the U-Skills Academy Cookery and Café Skills programmes competed as part of their course. The students had several practice runs in class so they were ready for the competition.
"The competitions motivated the students to work harder and challenge themselves. In the end students were able to see where they are at in terms of their own learning, and how well they stack up against others," says Drew.
Cupcakes – Mallory Olsen (Manawatū College)
Omlette - Minh Dao & Ellite Tang (Palmerston North Girls' High School)
Sandwich – Hannah Martin (Horowhenua College)
Pasta - Mallory Olsen (Manawatū College)
Barista - Ella Dix (Palmerston North Girls' High School)
Mocktails – Shae Mooney (Palmerston North Girls' High School)
Cupcakes - Sophie Deane (Whanganui Girls' College)
Omelette - Kelahn Te Awhe Taylor & Alysha Makatea (Whanganui High School)
Sandwich - Jaime Reid (Whanganui Girls' College)
Pasta - Jaime Reid (Whanganui Girls' College)
Barista – Lucas Reardon (Cullinane College)
Mocktails – Wiki Teka (Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tupoho)
Cupcakes - Shawnee Dolden (Wainuiomata High School)
Omelette - Abbey Gunn & Grace Croasdale (Tararua College)
Pasta – Laura- Rose Holden - Kuranui College
Barista - Teiana Lewer (Tararua College)
Mocktails - Simone Ellison-Henderson (Tararua College)