Students from secondary schools around the lower North Island went head to head in an inter-school hospitality competition recently; The UCOL Secondary Schools Hospitality Competition.
Students in years 11 – 13 competed against each other under the watchful eye of the judges, showcasing their skills from cupcakes to mocktails at UCOL’s Palmerston North, Wairarapa and Whanganui campuses.
Palmerston North Girls’ High School student Anna Kelly (pictured above) won of the Cupcake and Pasta categories in Palmerston North, and said it was a good experience competing in the UCOL kitchen. “It was good. It wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be, and the judges were really helpful.”
Anna’s banoffee cupcakes stood out not only for their taste but also their beautifully crafted chocolate domes. For her winning pasta dish, Anna made a sage and pumpkin blue cheese tortellini with hazelnut burnt butter sauce.
Anna hopes to put her cooking talents to use in a career in event planning and catering.
Contestant Matthew Payton from Wairarapa College who took out the Gold in the Pizza category said:
“It’s quite stressful – there’s pressure, but it’s good, and it’s good to meet people in the kitchen too.”
Along with Anna and Matthew, the other talented contestants who took out wins were; Aragorn Cavanaugh and Kelahn Te Awhe from Whanganui High School, Jamie Reid and Charlotte Stevens from Whanganui Girls College, Tania Moller, Bailey Rink, Bejamin Dotirce, Maddy Howell and Jemma McQuillan-McKee from UCOL Trades Academy, Abbey-Jade Gunn and Grace Croasdale from Tararua College, Samantha Leaman, Amy Berridge and Ella Fleet from Palmerston North Girls High School.
UCOL was proud to be the host of this years’ Secondary Schools Hospitality Competition and programme leaders Ian Drew and Jan MacGibbon warmly invited students to compete.
“We love to see students from all ages giving it a go, and we recognise that it is a brave thing to do – to put yourself out there in competition. Our sincere thanks to the schools and the many coaches and supporters – without you this just could not happen.”
In the past this competition has only been available at the Palmerston North campus, this year it was extended to all three UCOL campuses and as a result of the success of this competition, UCOL plan to make it an annual event.
“We would like more schools to be involved, especially if they haven’t in the past and we are happy to go to schools and speak with technology teachers and students to give advice or even a demo. All the student feedback we have received was along the same theme - they were nervous to start but really enjoyed the competition and were glad they did it.”