Napier cook has plenty to talk about

By Sam Hurley

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Anita Sarginson.
Anita Sarginson.

An EIT student has dealt with her rattling nerves to claim a gold medal in Toque d'Or, the country's most prestigious student cookery and food service competition in Auckland.

Napier's Stacey McCann was one of just four, front-of-house entrants from throughout New Zealand and the Cook Islands to be awarded gold.

Stacey, a former Hastings Girls' High School student, has worked for two years at Napier's Cafe DMP and the past three months at The Mission Restaurant and has gained confidence from the win.

"People don't say you're good for no reason. But I did work hard for the success. I tried really hard," she said.

She has been studying for EIT's Certificate in Front of House Operations (Advanced) since the beginning of the year.

New Zealand Chefs Association president Anita Sarginson said participating institutes were required to put forward a team of three students, two culinary and one restaurant service.

"Teams are required to prepare six covers of a three-course meal within a set timeframe and deliver dishes to attending guests."

Preparing for 23rd Toque d'Or, Stacey doubted her abilities and was nervous but her front-of-house trainer and the EIT team manager Celia Kurta, said she put in the time to succeed outside the study programme.

"She was dedicated and with her personality and attitude as well as her skills, she pulled it out on the day."

EIT teammates, student chefs Andrea Davies and Cassey Hall, won silver in the three-day competition which attracted entries from nine other tertiary institutes as well as the New Zealand Defence Forces.

Nearly two years into her Diploma in Professional Chef Practice at EIT, Cassey is "absolutely ecstatic" to have scored silver in the hotly contested Toque d'Or.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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