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Preparing a real meal for real diners in a restaurant setting is an exciting learning experience for Auckland Hotel and Chefs Training School cookery students.
Family, friends, fellow students and chef tutors are invited to AHCTS to dine in the school’s restaurant, enjoying a delicious meal prepared entirely by the students.
The multi-course lunch is called a live service and chef tutor, Sach Kadam says the students are always a little nervous.
“Usually, preparation starts the day before the live service and the educational outcome is to encourage the students to learn about being organised and keeping their cool,” says Sach.
“They start to understand the importance of working as a team member and they have a taster of what a real live service would be like in a restaurant. It is also good practice before they have their final practical cookery assessment.”
For many guests, it’s the first time they have seen their family member in a chef role in a commercial-style kitchen.
Sometimes the menu is set and on other occasions, the guests have options. The cookery students also cater for food allergies and in tolerances, which can be an unanticipated challenge.

Many students have restaurant work experience, which gives them greater confidence during the live service at the chefs’ school.
Students manage front of house roles under the expert guidance of the chefs’ school programme manager, Kevin Hudson.

Working at the waitering team helps students understand the complexities of ensuring diners have an enjoyable experience.
All guests complete a review of the menu, culinary presentation and taste, and the waiting service.
Honest evaluations of the live service give students the feedback they need to progress to become professional chefs.