Cook­ing on top of the world

Central Leader - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

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.”

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

High skill: Chef Thomas Townsend gets ready to prove he’s the world’s best.

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