Press Release – Eastern Institute of Technology
EIT student Stacey McCann overcame jangly nerves to strike gold in Toque dOr, the countrys most prestigious student cookery and food service competition held recently in Auckland.Hawke’s Bay’s Hospitality Team Hauls In the Medals
EIT student Stacey McCann overcame jangly nerves to strike gold in Toque d’Or, the country’s most prestigious student cookery and food service competition held recently in Auckland.
From Napier, Stacey was one of just four front-of-house entrants from throughout New Zealand and the Cook Islands to be awarded gold.
EIT team mates, student chefs Andrea Davies and Cassey Hall, won silver in the three-day competition which attracted entries from nine other tertiary institutes as well as the New Zealand Defence Forces.
“Participating institutes are required to put forward a team of three students, two culinary and one restaurant service,” says Anita Sarginson, president of the New Zealand Chefs Association which co-managed the event with Nestlé Professional.
“Teams are required to prepare six covers of a three-course meal within a set timeframe and deliver dishes to attending guests.”
Each team worked up a menu using predetermined ingredients. The EIT team was guided by chef tutor Korey Field in deciding on a Japanese-inspired salmon entree with fennel salad, beef sirloin topped with black been tapenade and a curd cake with fruit trimmings.
Stacey thinks previously winning gold for her table-setting design at Hawke’s Bay’s Salon Culinaire may have helped with her selection for the EIT team.
The former Hastings Girls’ High School student has gained industry experience working for two years at Napier’s Cafe DMP and the last three months at The Mission Restaurant. She has been studying for EIT’s Certificate in Front of House Operations (Advanced) since the start of the year.
Preparing for Toque d’Or, Stacey doubted her abilities but her front of house trainer and the EIT team manager Celia Kurta, says she put in many hours outside those timetabled in the study programme.
“She was dedicated and with her personality and attitude as well as her skills, she pulled it out on the day.”
Winning gold has boosted Stacey’s confidence.
“People don’t say you’re good for no reason. But I did work hard for the success. I tried really hard.”
Stacey loves the face-to-face contact associated with her work. Her goal is to run her own cafe-restaurant, teaching others the skills she has acquired and enjoys.
Nearly two years into her Diploma in Professional Chef Practice at EIT, Cassey is “absolutely ecstatic” to have scored silver in the hotly contested Toque d’Or. “I’m very impressed to have achieved such a high degree of success,” she enthuses. “It’s pretty awesome.”
In love with food – “I absolutely adore Asian” – the former Sacred Heart College student is employed by Jenny Parton in her catering company Dish. Andrea’s aim is to travel the world cooking.
Andrea, like Cassey, is three months away from completing her diploma at EIT. The former Napier Girls’ High Student says she was thrilled to have the experience of competing at Toque d’Or and to win silver was fantastic coming on top of that.
For nearly a year, Andrea has been working at Mr D’s. Her goal is to save up for overseas travel and to include in that working for a bigger kitchen brigade in a London hotel.