Sean Tauroa is one of two Whanganui UCOL trainee chefs to be given a free lunch.
He has just been awarded a $6000 scholarship which will pay his final year's culinary arts course tuition next year.
Mr Tauroa, 35, and another adult student, Bradie Alabaster, have had their tuition paid for by the City & Guilds International Foundation, a British-based charity offshoot of the company that provides qualifications and training around the world.
At the end of this year the two men will have completed a Certificate in Culinary Arts and part 1 of the National Certificate in Hospitality (Cookery) Level 4 at UCOL and next year they will complete part 2 and the Diploma in Professional Chef Practice Level 5.
Mr Tauroa is grateful for the City & Guilds scholarship and said his family did not grow up with "the flash stuff".
"We had boil-ups and there were competitions for the best steamed puddings."
Of course Mum Ria made the best steamed puddings.
Now he grows his own vegetables, tomatoes, chillies, cucumbers and lettuces, and an heirloom plum, peach and nectarines.
Organic food gets the tick, because you can taste the difference, and he's chemical-free in his garden.
Most of Mr Tauroa's time has been spent between the Coromandel and Wellington where he made "nice healthy food for the winter".
Before the end of term, Mr Tauroa's main meal of rolled pork loin on a kumara/blue cheese mash with green peppercorn sauce was selected to be served in the UCOL restaurant.
He's pretty well laid back, and there's no heat in the kitchen that can't be managed.
"It's therapeutic doing the prep, and organising part of your life that flows into other parts of your life."
There's a balance to the life of this chef-in-the-making.
He worked for 10 years designing and building skate parks around the North Island with James Blas, who in August suffered a ruptured aneurism in his brain, and a stroke. Mr Tauroa helped organise the concert fundraiser at the end of August for Mr Blas and his family who are living in Christchurch.
He is a skater in his free time, and when his knees can't handle the concrete, he'll head out on to the waves.