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UCOL cooks can stand the heat

UCOL cooks can stand the heat

UCOL Wairarapa trained cooks Teresa Churchward and Val Rimene are each realising their commercial kitchen dreams as they work in two iconic Masterton restaurants.

Teresa Churchward graduated with distinction from UCOL’s Cookery programme last year and now works as a chef at the Horseshoe Restaurant.

It is the same kitchen in which she gained her 40 hour practical work experience during her studies towards a Certificate in Professional Cookery and Certificate in Baking and Pastry.

The 27 year old mum of twins turned to professional culinary training when her children started school. “I was encouraged to enrol at UCOL by the great feedback I had from friends and family, they just love my cooking.”

With the help of those same family and friends, Teresa is now able to work five days a week at the busy restaurant and function centre.

“I am training under Horseshoe chef and owner Kevin Prescott to be a commis chef,” says Teresa. “I am constantly learning and always will be. This is my dream career.”

Val Rimene completed the Certificate in Professional Cookery in Semester One and is now studying towards a Certificate in Baking and Pastry at UCOL’s Chapel Street campus.

The 22 year old was forced to give up her job in a shearing gang due to a serious foot injury. During her ten month recovery she had to consider a new career path. “I have always loved food and cooking,” she says. “I wanted to do something creative – UCOL’s cookery course brought all those things together and I soon discovered my passion.”

As a self-confessed ‘rat-bag’ at school Val says although applying herself to study was hard, she set herself three initial goals. “I wanted to pass, I wanted to get a job and I wanted to work my way up in the industry.”

Val completed her 40 hour practical requirement for the UCOL course at Masterton’s Tripoli Restaurant. “I started at the bottom, washing dishes and learning how a restaurant kitchen works,” she says. “My boss Marlon offered me a part-time and more recently, a full-time job there. I now work the evening shift six nights a week as a kitchen hand and chef, and study at UCOL during the day.”

Val Rimene works at Tripoli Restaurant six nights a week while studying at UCOL.

Val acknowledges her tutor Carmel Harris as an inspirational teacher and mentor. “I was never treated like just a number, but as a mature individual,” says Val. “Carmel has given me great faith in my ability and potential.”

Since achieving her first three goals, Val has set herself another. “I want to have my own restaurant in Melbourne in five years.”

Both Teresa and Val share an excitement of what the future holds for them in the hospitality industry, now they have their dream jobs within it.


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