Name: Amy Rice
Occupation: Chef
Place of work: Kex Kitchen

What does your job involve?

I'm the founder and owner of Kex Kitchen, a catering company specialising in wholesome food for corporate events, weddings and more. I help people choose the best style of catering for their event. Then I source the very best local ingredients, prepare them, cook them, make them look beautiful, and then deliver them to hungry and happy customers all over the Bay of Plenty.

What is the main thing you want to achieve professionally?
Kex Kitchen is really thriving, but my biggest goal is to make sure it keeps growing. To do that, the next step is to start creating a team of happy, passionate, and fun-loving people, to help me keep building Kex Kitchen into one of Tauranga's best catering companies.

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Why did you get into this profession?
I've always loved food, but I never thought I could make it my fulltime job. That was until I found myself volunteering on an organic vegetable farm in Sweden. One day, the farm's owner asked if I'd like to bake a cake for the little cafe they had on site, and the rest is history! I ended up working in the cafe's kitchen for three years, falling in love with creating a menu and presenting food.

By the time I left, the cafe was voted the 12th best in Sweden. When I came home to New Zealand, I couldn't wait to put everything I'd learned into practice, and create a dream job by starting a catering company of my own.

What do you like about your job the most?
Nothing beats the look on people's faces when they see my food, and the compliments I get after they've tried it. After all these years, it still gets me! Another thing I'm really passionate about is providing people with healthier, more wholesome options. I believe food that's good for you should taste good too, and I love surprising people with how delicious healthy food can be.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
Trying to sell myself on social media! I know it's such an important way of advertising and marketing my business, but I still feel like such a dork doing it. I'd happily go without my phone for a week, but I know that social media's the best way to engage with clients, so I'm trying to get better at it.

What is your proudest work moment?
This year, we won a large contact to cater the Diner en Blanc event, which we're super excited about. But on a smaller, more everyday scale, I feel really proud every time I get a re-order from a past client. To me, someone ordering again and again is the ultimate compliment.

What training have you had to prepare for your role?
I have a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in journalism, which helps with a few things outside of the kitchen — and I also trained as a chef and pastry chef in Sweden. But I've found that some of my best training has actually been on the job, when I worked as a head chef in France, Melbourne, and NZ — particularly in my latest role at the stunning Olive Tree Cottage in Pyes Pa. It was there that my passion for wedding catering specifically really took off.

What is the most important thing your current role has taught you?
Definitely that spending time away from work is as important — if not even more so — than working. Especially if that time away is spent fishing!

Would you recommend your career to other women?
If you're a patient, chilled, relaxed kind of person — then yes, 100 per cent. But to be honest, if you get stressed pretty easily and don't respond well to pressure, then another career might be a better fit!

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