School students join cookery classes at Whitireia and WelTec to get a taste for a future in food

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A group of 26 secondary school students from eight colleges across the Wellington region recently joined a day of cookery and barista classes at the Whitireia and WelTec School of Hospitality on Cuba Street in central Wellington.

Students were divided into two groups; one group joined a cookery class for the day and the other a barista class. The sessions were held in the commercial kitchen and Latte Lab at Whitireia and WelTec’s School of Hospitality, and the students, from years 11 – 13 were given an authentic taste of what tertiary training in this field would be like.

In the cookery session, students were kitted out in chef’s uniforms and learned about the importance of health and safety in a commercial kitchen before launching into making burgers from start to finish, creating a sweet treat for dessert, and finishing the day with a full clean down of the kitchens as expected in a professional environment.

The aspiring baristas started the day learning about the history of coffee, the different sources, blends, and markets, and about different types of barista made drinks and milks. They were then briefed on the technicalities of the coffee machines and equipment, before making the flat whites, mochas, and other drinks themselves under supervision.

Secondary school students learn cookery and barista skills at the WelTec School of Hospitality Taster Day.

Mata Dolden, a secondary schools liaison officer at Whitireia and WelTec, who has been involved in running the taster programmes, explains why they have been so popular with students.

“The taster classes are a great way for school students to see the environment on campus, understand a bit more about what the programmes involve, and ask the tutors questions directly about the areas of study they are interested in. We have had students attend from as far afield as Masterton and Levin with extremely positive feedback,” says Mata.

Students from the most recent barista and cookery taster classes shared comments about the experience:

“I loved the way Paul taught us step-by-step the different methods to make coffee, to understand the art of coffee making”; “I loved how hands-on it is and felt the experience really helped with learning the skills”.

“It was fun and engaging to work in a commercial kitchen and to understand what it would be like to cook in the industry”, “I liked working in small groups, and that we could eat what we made, and take the recipe home”, “the opportunity to experience this was awesome, and everything was very hands on”.

Whitireia and WelTec are putting together the next round of taster programmes for secondary school students which will include a wide range of specialist areas such as carpentry, automotive, hairdressing, digital programming and screen production.

Whitireia and WelTec have a dedicated team who can take your passions and turn them into your own learning journey. Head to our Secondary Schools Hub for more information.

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