Hob­biton puts Tok’ stu­dents to the test

South Waikato News - - Your Local News - LUKE KIRKEBY

A group of Toko­roa stu­dents had no magic ring to call on for help as they helped feed 700 peo­ple dur­ing a work ex­pe­ri­ence ex­er­cise at Hob­biton.

Six­teen culi­nary arts and food and bev­er­age stu­dents from the Toi Ohomai In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy Toko­roa Cam­pus were re­cently in­vited to work along­side chefs at the pop­u­lar Mata­mata tourist at­trac­tion.

But it was no fan­tasy hol­i­day as they had to serve and pre­pare food and drink for 700 In­done­sian guests.

They made more than 10,000 pieces of finger food for 12 food stalls across 4 Hob­biton-themed venues.

‘‘They were the top 700 sales peo­ple from through­out the coun­try from an In­done­sian in­sur­ance firm who were shouted a Pa­cific cruise,’’ culi­nary arts lec­turer Peter Skel­ton said.

‘‘It was a re­ally im­por­tant ex­pe­ri­ence for the stu­dents be­cause they were work­ing with in­ter­na­tional tourists which can be quite daunt­ing be­cause of­ten they don’t speak your lan­guage.’’

‘‘Feed­back from the food and bev­er­age man­ager was fan­tas­tic and he was re­ally happy with the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the stu­dents. He said they were pre­pared and well trained and helped them get over the line with that amount of peo­ple.’’

Stu­dents also had to dress up in Hob­bit themed cos­tumes.

Culi­nary stu­dent Jamie Fer­gu­son de­scribed the ex­pe­ri­ence as crazy but re­ward­ing.

‘‘We got to see a com­mer­cial kitchen in the works which was a re­ally good ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause I have never been in one be­fore be­sides the one here,’’ she said.

‘‘The amount of peo­ple there was amaz­ing, it was crazy.’’

Fel­low stu­dent Emma Peters said they all felt like they were part of the team.

‘‘Even though we didn’t ac­tu­ally work at Hob­biton we felt like we were part of the team and we had a good time get­ting dressed up and be­ing part of a lo­cal tourism busi­ness,’’ she said.

Stu­dent Becky-jane Clifton, who cur­rently works at the venue, said they made a range of dishes for the guests.

‘‘There was a se­lec­tion of hot and cold canapes for the night, fresh fruit and desserts but they went crazy for the ki­wifruit,’’ she laughed.

Skel­ton said four lucky stu­dents have also been of­fered jobs.

‘‘Hope­fully this will be­come an on­go­ing thing,’’ he said.

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