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Whitireia students to host Kapiti food festival

Nov 13th, 2008 | By | Category: Latest News, News

PICTURE: From left, Leanne Tan, Jeanine Van Kradenburg, Jamil Hammoud and Tony Gan.

FOUR international students who have studied a year-long cooking course have decided to host a food festival at their Whitireia campus in Kapiti.

They want to bring their City and Guilds International Certificate and Diploma in Cookery course to a climax with the event on Saturday, December 6.

The festival – a first for the Kapiti campus – will include a competition for the best summer recipe on the Kapiti Coast, says Tony Gan, who as well as being a student was managing editor of Asian Magazine Malaysia.

“We wanted to celebrate the food capital of Kapiti by holding a competition,” he says. “Hopefully, we’ll discover our own future Jamie Oliver.”

The course’s head chef, Rod Sergent, has come on board and will give a demonstration on boning, cooking, then carving a turkey.

Mr Gan says Kapiti has a lot to offer, with many cafeterias and restaurants, and is famous for its produce such as herbs, and freshly grown Levin vegetables. It is also known for its home-made cheeses, ice creams and olive oil.

Two of the students have already has a taste of success. Jamil and Jeanine entered the Wellington Culinary fair and both walked away with bronze medals.

Leanne Tan, office manager for Asian Magazine Malaysia, has lived here for 20 years.

“I had my own food stall in Malaysia, but decided to shift here to study English as a second language,” she says.

“I am doing this course in the hope of opening my own Malaysian restaurant out here in Kapiti.”

Nurse Jeanine Van Kradenburg, originally from South Africa and now living in Waikanae, says she studied nursing for 20 years.

“It’s a big change when you think about nursing and cooking for people, but there is a lot of comparisons,” she says.

“I have this dream to educate people how to cook healthy. There is a lot to be said about food and bringing cultures together, because it’s more about the similarities than the differences in our cultures.

“Food is present with everything we do. We can not say, ‘we are not going to eat’. We have to eat to live. It is something that brings people, families, colleagues in the work place, and cultures together.”

Jamil Hammoud, a training chef from Brazil, says he was an aid worker for three years and through that met his New Zealand wife.

“We married, then shifted out here. I love cooking and my mum’s a chef. I decided to take it a bit further. I have been working in the industry for two years now and I just want to keep going and see how it goes.”

Tony Gan says he came to New Zealand 22 years ago for an education at Victory University studying computer science.

“I spent a number of years in the computer profession, but I realised it was a bit tiring learning new computer information. I realised I was a people’s person, so I decided to attend this cooking course. 

“After this course I might go and get some work experience before I venture into my own business. With the economic recession in New Zealand, I am not to sure this is a good idea.”

The group approached Kapiti Coast District Council for funding and got a $3000 grant.

Whitireia Kapiti regional development manager Wendy Houston says polythechnic staff met Kapiti council to clarify council health requirements for the festival.

Council rules mean the number of stalls at the fair are limited to licensed commercial food sellers, leaving out small family based food stalls.


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