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New Peppers Chef Inspired By Her Grandmother

New Peppers Chef Inspired By Her Grandmother

The newest chef at the Martinborough restaurant at Peppers Hotel says she owes her passion for cooking to her grandmother.

UCOL@Wairarapa student Nina has won a job at the award winning restaurant after spending a week there on work experience as part of her UCOL study. She is one of a team of seven chefs, working with star chef, Des Harris, formerly of Logan Brown in Wellington.

The Martinborough Restaurant at the Martinborough Peppers Hotel won Best Casual Dining - Regional in this year’s Cuisine Restaurant of the Year Awards.

Nina has just completed three food preparation and cooking qualifications on the Chef Training Programme at UCOL@Wairarapa. Aged 39 with three sons and a very supportive husband, she was born in Wellington and now lives in Carterton.

She says her grandmother was her inspiration in becoming a chef. “She taught me everything she knew. She ran a boarding house and catering company, in Hokitika until my parents brought my grandparents to Wellington to live with us, when I was six. She taught me to cook, especially baking. So to me, she was my hero chef!”

Nina had a chance to give something back to her grandmother in her previous work as a rest home caregiver. Before starting the UCOL programme, her last job was at a rest home in Carterton where she helped to look after her hero before she died in April, aged 94.

Her former UCOL teachers are confident Nina will do well and go far. “She has the right attitude to the rigours of the industry,” says Programme Coordinator Chris Hutchings.

And Nina has high praise for her UCOL tutors, especially Albert Hutchings, known as “Chef”, who “made the learning fun”. She says she especially enjoyed the practical side of the programme, but also learnt a lot from the theory. “If UCOL@Wairarapa had a diploma course in chef training, I would be the first to sign up.”


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