National competition finds new hospitality stars

National competition finds new hospitality stars

CPIT graduate Elliott Pinn, currently working at The George Hotel in Christchurch, and Monique Rutene of Fiordland Lodge in Te Anau showed they have what it takes to become future industry stars after being named New Zealand’s top hospitality apprentices in the national annual Hospitality Standards Institute Modern Apprentice of the Year competition.

Organised by the Hospitality Standards Institute (HSI), the fast-paced national competition saw seven selected apprentice chefs and five selected food and beverage apprentices compete for their respective Modern Apprentice of the Year titles in Auckland.

Elliott was named winner of the prestigious NZ-UK Link Foundation Cookery Modern Apprentice of the Year, while Monique, won the Southern Hospitality Food and Beverage Modern Apprentice of the Year, awarded at the National Culinary Fare in Auckland, Tuesday, July 19.

As winner of the NZ-UK Link Foundation award, Elliott receives a four-week work experience placement in England organised by famed Kiwi restaurateur Peter Gordon, including a week in Gordon’s popular London restaurant, The Providores, and a grant to cover travel and living expenses.

The competition required that Elliott and his fellow cookery apprentices design a three-course menu based on a mystery box of ingredients given to each of them on the day, to be cooked within three hours. His winning menu was a sole boudin cauliflower with warm mussel salad, followed by roast free-range corn-fed chicken, pumpkin puree, vegetable textures and feta croquette. For dessert, Elliott went for dark chocolate marquise, with shortbread crumble and a spiced coconut sorbet.

The Southern Hospitality Food and Beverage Modern Apprentice of the Year competition was also fiercely contested, with competitors setting and serving a table of guests a
three-course set menu including a silver service main, then competing in a blind wine evaluation challenge.

As New Zealand’s top Food and Beverage apprentice, Monique receives a trip to the 2012 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, with $1,500 towards flights and accommodation. She scored particularly well in the blind wine-tasting section of the competition.

HSI Chief Executive Steve Hanrahan says the high standard of the competition and entrants indicates the strong future of New Zealand hospitality. “The competitors have worked extremely hard to prepare for this event and are a great example of the talented, passionate young people that will go far in the hospitality industry,” he says.

As the hospitality industry’s training organisation (ITO), HSI leads access to training and qualifications for the hospitality industry including overseeing, supervising, assisting and
reviewing all nationally recognised training for the five sectors of the hospitality - accommodation, clubs, cafes, bars & restaurants, food services and quick service restaurants.

HSI also provides support and guidance to schools, polytechnics and providers that teach and assess Unit Standards through hospitality courses.