Cooking on top of the world
Seventeen apprentices are focusing on success at the 40th WorldSkills Competition in Calgary.
Chef Thomas Townsend is representing New Zealand as part of the Tool Blacks, a team of tradespeople from vocations including carpentry, floristry, plumbing and cooking.
It’s an exciting time for the Blockhouse Bay resident, who was named the Hospitality Service Institute’s modern apprentice of the year last year.
For the competition Mr Townsend had to prepare a three-course meal consisting of four dishes per course in three hours.
“Because I won that, WorldSkills contacted me saying somebody had pulled out at the last minute,” says the 21year-old.
National finals were held in Wellington in September, where comland, which he finished petitors created a variety earlier this year. of dishes over three days “My dad’s a chef and including finger food, a my mum is a cooking fish entree, a pork main teacher and I sort of and a hot dessert. hummed and hawed
“It was a pretty full-on about it while I was at competition,” he says. school but ended up
The former Lynfield making the decision and College student went I’ve been pretty happy straight from school into with it ever since.” a three-year apprenticeSkyCity executive ship at SkyCity Auck-chef Mark Wylie is hap- py too: “He is exactly the sort of person we want coming through our apprenticeships and we’re all very proud of his achievements, “ Mr Wylie says.
“He is a talented and creative guy who works hard and is disciplined.”
Mr Townsend has recently travelled to England to redeem his apprentice of the year prize, an eight-week work placement organised by New Zealandborn chef Peter Gordon.
“The next 10 years I’ve put aside for travelling and gaining as much experience as I can,” he says.
Mr Townsend now has a lot of training and fundraising to do to prepare for WorldSkills in September but he is determined and confident.
“I’ve been told that I seem to stay pretty calm and don’t really let the judges know when I’m screwing up,” he says.
“I just go along with it and try to keep things as basic as I can and it seems to pay off.”
High skill: Chef Thomas Townsend gets ready to prove he’s the world’s best.