Tai Poutini Polytechnic is redeveloping its culinary programmes to bring a new, uniquely West Coast flavour to its cookery training.

General Manager West Coast Operations Rob van Lent says the aim is to provide a new suite of courses that reflects the vibrant West Coast tourism market, meets the expectations of visitors and the local demand for skilled chefs.

“This is a great opportunity to work with our community partners and develop a training programme that will meet the needs of the local community, the wider industry and our students.

“We are planning to create a high quality programme that is recognised and valued by students and industry, not just on the West Coast, but nationally and around the world. We want a programme that has synergies with other TPP developments that aim to build on the West Coast brand, our growing international relationships, and our focus on excellence in customer service and visitor experiences.

“We want to get the new programme up and running as soon as possible, but we will take some time to research and plan to make sure we get it right,” Mr van Lent says.

To ensure that this develops quickly and innovatively, Mr Ian Hooker has agreed to lead the development team. He is a senior lecturer who developed TPP’s very innovative Bachelor of Business Enterprise degree.

In order to develop the new programme, the Polytechnic will defer the next planned delivery of the NZ Certificate in Cookery, which was due to start in February 2016. The new programme will be developed and delivered in-house, creating a uniquely West Coast training course.

“I’d like to reassure students who had planned to start training in February that the ideas we are considering for the new programme offer an exciting alternative to local students and will aim to deliver a quality training programme with a uniquely West Coast flavour. We also hope to commence delivery of some shorter courses to focus on West Coast specialities early in the New Year.
“We are keen to get the new programme up-and-running as quickly as possible and development work is already underway,” Mr van Lent says.

In addition to the development of a new culinary programme, the Polytechnic is also working with local schools to support their cookery delivery and create a strong pathway for school leavers who are passionate about working with food.