Stu­dent wins gold with sil­ver ser­vice

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

A lo­cal stu­dent’s sil­ver ser­vice de­liv­ered a gold medal win for her restau­rant team in a na­tional competition last week.

Pukerua Bay hos­pi­tal­ity stu­dent Melissa Lind and two Weltec stu­dent chefs came top of 12 teams at the Nes­tle Toque d’Or competition, held in Auck­land on July 18. The stu­dents won $2000 each. Miss Lind, in her sec­ond year of a di­ploma in hos­pi­tal­ity op­er­a­tions su­per­vi­sion, was watched by judges as she laid a ta­ble for three in clas­sic ‘‘ta­ble d’hoˆ te’’ style, then served mys­tery guests a four-course meal cooked by her team-mates.

Judges marked her on ev­ery­thing from friend­li­ness to how far apart she laid the cut­lery.

‘‘They lis­ten to how you talk to your guests. They ask you ques­tions about your food and wine matches,’’ Miss Lind says.

She spent hours pol­ish­ing wine glasses and fold­ing nap­kins to pre­pare for the competition.

The rep­e­ti­tion paid off when Miss Lind worked a prac­tice shift at cel­e­brated Welling­ton restau­rant Lo­gan Brown, and found the skills came nat­u­rally.

‘‘I was quite blown away how I ac­tu­ally knew what to do when I was there.’’

It was work at cafe Ruby’s in Mana that set the 18-year-old on her ca­reer path.

She has wait­ressed there since she was 13 and found she much pre­ferred meet­ing peo­ple at front of house to swel­ter­ing in a kitchen out back.

Be­ing bit­ten by the travel bug on a ‘‘life-chang­ing’’ school trip to Italy was fur­ther mo­ti­va­tion to make a ca­reer of hos­pi­tal­ity.

Miss Lind is itch­ing to take her skills over­seas, es­pe­cially to work on cruise ships.

She had left Aotea Col­lege for Welling­ton High School in Year 12 for its hos­pi­tal­ity cur­ricu­lum, but left school for Weltec at the end of that year.

‘‘(If) I know what I want to do, there’s no point in staying in school,’’ she says.

She was also in­spired to seize the day by the death of her boyfriend, Aotea stu­dent Nathan Lau­ren­son, and his best friend Udo Fourie in a car crash in 2009.

‘‘They were such in­spi­ra­tional boys, they did ev­ery­thing they wanted to. You just want to get out and do it all be­cause you don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen.’’

Pare­mata chef and West­pac Sta­dium venue man­ager Michael Kirk was one of the event’s 17 judges. The con­test pushes stu­dents to achieve high stan­dards and im­press in­dus­try fig­ures, he says.

Sil­ver belle: Hos­pi­tal­ity stu­dent Melissa Lind has per­fected the sil­ver ser­vice skills that won her Weltec team a top na­tional prize on July 18.

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