Tea and cake anyone?

01 Nov, 2009
Tea and cake anyone?

Busy student chefs have been mixing, baking, icing and decorating their way towards showcasing their end of year talents.

First year Diploma and Certificate Patisserie students in AUT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism showcased their baked offerings in a ‘Mad Hatters Tea Party’ display for friends, family and AUT staff earlier this month.

Second year Patisserie Diploma students had the trickier task of having to produce a buffet presentation consisting of seven components. These particular items had to relate to a theme each student had chosen for their presentation.

The showcase marked the end of a busy year for the Culinary Arts section of the Hospitality & Tourism School at AUT University.

In October AUT’s lecturer in gastronomy and food personality, Ray Mc Vinnie, was selected as a judge for the new TV ONE series of MasterChef. McVinnie will sit alongside Simon Gault of Euro Restaurant and Ross Burden, a finalist in MasterChef UK in 1993, to find New Zealand’s best chef in the series which will air in 2010.

"An ideal contestant on MasterChef New Zealand would be someone with a great love of food and eating, a well-rounded person who can appreciate and understand flavour, with a good grounding in cooking technique, who is modest and willing to learn, but with an unshakeable pride in themselves. Someone who is meticulous in their attention to detail, and has a great deal of stamina,"  says McVinnie.

Industry advisory boards and meetings with major players in the industry ensure that AUT is offering the most relevant programmes and equipping students with the skills that employers need and want. One such meeting with Dilmah Tea has led to discussions around AUT potentially including a ‘tea paper’ into its programme.

Dilhan Fernando, son of Dilmah Tea founder Merril J. Fernando, recently met with Head of Department- Culinary Arts, John Kelly, to talk about the possibility of AUT capitalising on the huge growth in tea drinking that New Zealand is seeing.

“Tea, is clearly in vogue again, and is a study area we are looking to focus on. We’re looking forward to working with Dilmah to possibly incorporate this into some of our programmes,” Kelly says.

Earlier in the year Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas hosted Bill Hardy of Hardys Wines for a wine tasting and blending session with his Professional Wine Studies students.

"It's important to take advantage of international experts like Bill while they are in NZ. I want people to be able to see how impressive his depth of knowledge is and then I want them to know that we can teach them some of that,” says Douglas.

Students themselves have also been in the limelight this year with Bachelor of International Hospitality Management graduate, Leo Xia, scooping the NZ Service Professional of the Year award at the National Culinary Fare.

Patisserie student, Sarah Harrap, picked up the coveted Weston Milling Trainee of the Year award at the annual competition in September this year.  A Diploma student, Sarah competed in the Wellington final after beating 90 odd entries in the preliminary regional round to make the top 10 for the final.

If you’re interested in finding out how you could train to makes cakes and delicacies like this visit the School of Hospitality and Tourism pages of this website.