New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4)

New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4)

Train for a career in cookery, and level up your skills and expertise in the culinary arts. Build your base here at Tai Poutini Polytechnic through our Level 4 Cookery Certificate, and well-prepared to become a professional chef. Thrive in a programme which combines both theoretical and hands-on learning, and be thoroughly-equipped to tackle all cooking fundamentals.

About the programme

If you're passionate about cooking awesome food, or if you want to be part of an evolving progressive industry, this chef training programme is for you. 

Gain a New Zealand Certificate in Cookery, or go onto further tertiary studies to gain a higher level Culinary Arts qualification. The programme covers all aspects of chef training, cookery and food-related training.

If you want to travel with your career, and gain professional positions within hotels, restaurants, cafés, exclusive lodges, fine dining establishments, ski resorts, surfing resorts, cruise ships, event catering and more, this programme is for you.

The programme is an exciting mix of theoretical and practical modules, with a large component of on-line learning.  We start with the basics and take you to a level where you're preparing and presenting outstanding restaurant food.

Core Elements

The programme is made up of four courses that cover an extensive range of content, including:

  • Health and safety, food safety, and security      
  • Introduction to the hospitality and catering industry and standard operating procedures for work roles in a commercial kitchen                            
  • Introduction to nutrition, healthy foods and special diets
  • Effective professional interactions with colleagues, managers and customers
  • Catering operations, costs and menu planning
  • A selection of larder foods, such as: salads, and appetisers
  • An exciting range of hot kitchen foods such as: soups, sauces, meat, fish and seafood, vegetables dishes
  • Delectable bakery and dessert items such as: breads, cakes, biscuits, pastry parfaits and other hot and cold desserts
  • You will be guided to create your own menus for the restaurant/events
  • Industry experience

Our Facilities

Our training kitchen is well equipped to meet your training needs. The modular design on which our facility is based provides moveable work stations and allows it to be used not only as a practical classroom, but also as a production kitchen for our restaurant, Tutoro.

Class sizes on the professional cookery programmes are much smaller than in larger polytechnics, which means that you will enjoy lots of individual tuition from tutors. This is a real plus when studying, as the extra attention that you get from your tutors can be of enormous benefit.

Further Study Paths

This programme opens the door to further study in cookery or more specialised related fields, such as:

  • NZ Diploma in Hospitality Management (Level 5 or Level 6)
  • NZ Certificate in Butchery Operations Management (Level 5)
  • Bachelor of Applied Hospitality and Tourism Management (Level 7)
  • Specialisation in Bakery, or as a Pastry Chef

Career Opportunities

  • Professional chef
  • Cook - quantity cookery / industrial catering
  • Kitchen assistant / manager
  • Industry food representative

Your workload

An intensive programme of study that combines face-to-face theoretical, practical and online lessons including integrated work place learning and student self-directed components.

There are extensive practical classes in Tai Poutini Polytechnic's commercial kitchen along with live services undertaken in Tai Poutini Polytechnic's Tutoro training restaurant.

Entry requirements

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants should be a minimum of 18 years old, and have achieved NCEA level 2 or the New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (level 3).
  • Applicants over the age of 20 years will be considered where they can demonstrate the ability to succeed in the programme.
  • Applicants must be able to confirm that they will have the physical capability to comply with relevant health and safety requirements and can safely withstand 4-8 hour sessions of working in the commercial kitchen environment.
  • For applicants whom English is not their first language may also be required to provide evidence of English language skills as listed. IELTS 5.5 Academic (no lower than 5.0 in ant subtest) issued within the last 2 years. For acceptable alternatives refer to the English Proficiency Outcomes Chart.

Special Note

  • Special Entry may be granted where evidence exists that the applicant can successfully complete the programme.

Domestic fees

First year

Additional costs

You will need to purchase your own chef kit, that includes knives and a uniform (we will give you the details of our suppliers).

You should expect to spend approximately $800 on programme specific equipment. This can be covered by the course-related costs section of your student loan (if you are eligible).  You can borrow up to $1,000 even if you are not drawing down the tuition fees component of your student loan, e.g. those students who are fees-free.

2024 enrolments

When you apply to study with Tai Poutini Polytechnic in 2024, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start from 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.


You will be offered a place subject to meeting the entry and selection requirements and the availability of places on the programme. The Polytechnic reserves the right to not accept late applications, i.e., after the programme has started. The Polytechnic reserves the right to cancel, prior to commencement, any programme which does not attract a minimum number of students. The fees shown are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change. For further information visit here.

Get in touch

0800 800 411
International +64 3 769 9400