Chef success at Vineyard Cafe – Villa Maria

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The hands-on learning is just starting when Auckland Hotel & Chefs Training School graduates start working in high profile kitchens, preparing dishes for clientele with high expectations.

AHCTS graduate, Parnell Porter is thriving in his demi chef role at Vineyard Cafe – Villa Maria, where he has spent 18 months expanding his knowledge of commercial kitchen work.

Parnell’s AHCTS cookery tutor, Alex Baudoin, brought his class to the highly-respected restaurant located in rural south Auckland, and Parnell aspired to a future in a leading kitchen.

When Parnell was at Aorere College he found school wasn’t a great fit for him, but when he helped his mother and uncle in their chef work – Parnell knew he wanted to follow in their footsteps.

Start with youth guarantee hospitality course

He left school and enrolled at AHCTS to study the National Certificate in Hospitality Cookery Level 2, tutored by chef Paul Chivers.

Completing the free 26-week course confirmed for Parnell that he wanted to continue studying to pursue opportunities in his cookery career.

After completing the Level 2 course, Parnell enrolled into AHCTS’s New Zealand Certificate in Cookery Level 4 class with chef Alex Baudoin as his tutor.

“The cookery training wasn’t what I expected – it was better,” says Parnell.

“It was a lot of fun and the tutoring style made it easier for me to learn.”

Parnell did so well he scored 100 per cent on his practical assessments.

The students all supported one another, and Parnell improved his knowledge of dessert making.

Learning on the job

As a demi-chef at Vineyard Cafe – Villa Maria, Parnell works with 10 to 12 chefs and he is expanding his knowledge of desserts.

He recommends young chefs practice their section and make sure they have everything prepared.

“Preparing lots of portions is something you have to learn and I’m absorbing as much as I can from the head chef and sous chef.

“I’m pretty happy with where I’m going and never thought I’d get where I am.”

Parnell acknowledges there can be some long days and it isn’t easy when you first start but young chefs need to hang in there.

“After a year or two you realise how much you’ve learnt and being under pressure will make you.”

Parnell is a success story from AHCTS and the cookery school is extremely proud to have been part of his culinary career.