Lizzie Rogers - Chef de Partie, Koji
Graduate of New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) and New Zealand Certificate in Baking
Where did your passion for cooking and baking start?
I got my first restaurant job while I was still in high school. After a week, I told them I wanted to be a chef and they were like, “You can do it now! We need a chef.” They put me straight onto lunch service with the head chef, and my passion for food grew from there.
In the summer break after Year 12, I spent a lot of time working, and I loved it. When I came back to school I realised I didn’t want to be there anymore, I just wanted to work in the restaurant. I told my cooking teacher that I wanted to leave, and she introduced me to WelTec.
What made you choose WelTec?
I went in for a look around when I was at high school, and I remember thinking how cool it looked. Everyone had their chef jackets on, it really looked like the place for me. My parents had been apprehensive about me moving to Wellington, but I think when my mum saw how excited I was, she realised how important it was to me.
What was your experience like at WelTec?
It was one of the highlights of my entire life. I remember that first day well, I couldn’t believe I was going to spend nine months learning everything I wanted to. It was awesome being around people who were also passionate about food. My classmates and tutors made it a really fun year, I’m still close with a lot of them now.
At the time I was working at Portlander, so I would go to class in the morning, then work in the afternoon, and the next day I’d get to do it all over again. I loved being able to learn and work in the industry at the same time.
What do you enjoy about working at Koji?
The first thing would definitely be the team. It’s small, and everyone loves being there because they love what they do. The owners take us out on research trips every month so we can learn more about what we serve in the restaurant. It helps get everyone excited about what we serve, which in turn helps the customers get excited too.
What did you learn that has been particularly valuable to you now?
Definitely teamwork. The way we’d work in class replicated the environment of a real kitchen. We’d spend the whole four-hour class working in a group, figuring out who needed to do what, and helping each other along the way.
What would you say to someone considering studying Cookery or Bakery?
If you have a passion for something, and you know it’s what you want to do, just do it. You won’t regret it. Just follow what you’re excited about.
Study Cookery and Bakery at WelTec
Get all the ingredients for a fulfilling career. Learn in-demand skills from experienced tutors. Hone your passion for food with a cookery or bakery qualification.