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Auckland Hotel & Chefs Training School head tutor, Sam Fraser-List congratulates an outstanding graduate with great chef career prospects, Leisau Murgatroyd.

When Auckland Hotel & Chefs Training School (AHCTS) head tutor genuinely congratulates his students for a job well done – you see the young chefs’ stand a little taller and their confidence grows.

Sam Fraser-List is the chef schools’ head tutor and what gets him in the kitchen and sharing his extensive knowledge, is seeing students develop their cookery skills and believing in their ability. At the boutique school the small class sizes enable tutors to really get to know their students. They learn about them, where they are from, their past and the challenges they encounter.

“Some of our students are more practical people who didn’t fit in with regular education and studying with Auckland chefs school gives them a second chance,” says Sam. “For others, it may have been a long time since they have studied and we guide them with the theory work.”

The cookery terms and technology that are completely familiar to Sam, who started his chef career more than 20 years ago, are all new to the new cookery recruits. The teaching kitchens at AHCTS are the same as a commercial kitchen and classes have a disciplined structure.
“We want to prepare our graduates for the real world and in a restaurant kitchen, you have to do what you are asked, and keep the discussion and questions for after a service is completed.Getting our students work-ready is really important.”
Sam knows it takes time and hard work for novice chefs to acquire the practical skills to work their way up and become great chefs. An outstanding success story was a young person who came to a restaurant Sam ran for work experience while he was an AHCTS Level 2 Cookery student.

“He was so good I gave him a job as a kitchen-hand and then he enrolled as a Level 3 Cookery student.”
While the enthusiastic trainee chef was a kitchen-hand he went to work early or stayed late on the pizza section because he really wanted to learn more.

“Once we had a chef’s position for him, he got the job. His drive was unbelievable,” Sam says.

The chef was also working in a higher-level kitchen and he was offered a commi chef position there – working in one of Auckland’s top restaurants. He went on to work in several other quality Auckland restaurants, moved to Australia and now is a successful chef at a three-hat restaurant in Melbourne.

When talking to Sam it is clear he is in awe of the accomplishments of many AHCTS graduates.

“These chefs are absolutely consumed by creating food and what they produce is out of this world. For most of us dining in their restaurants would be a once in a lifetime experience.”

Sam and the other tutors are rewarded when they see their charges do well in their cookery careers and then come back to the Auckland chef school to share their stories.The connections between tutors, students, graduates and chefs become life-long bonds.