Hospitality students from Ignite Colleges teamed up with the Commission for Financial Capability this week to help South Aucklanders tackle debt.
As part of Money Week, the Commission challenged the students to create a three-course Pasifika-inspired celebration meal for ten people – all for under $100. Yesterday, those students transformed the Ignite Colleges campus into a pop-up dining venue, dishing up their upmarket yet budget-friendly fare to locals.
“It was a really good challenge – we had to work really hard to get the budget down, while still adding lots of flair and creativity to our menu,” said Level 3 hospitality student Angela Scrivener.
The three groups of students have spent the past week planning, shopping and creating their menus – one for a White Sunday celebration, one for a mid-winter Christmas feast and the other for a birthday party banquet. Restaurant guests included representatives from South Auckland community groups and members of the public, while three esteemed judges added a dash of nail-biting MasterChef style tension to the competition.
One of several events run across the country for 2017 Money Week, the Commission’s Pasifika Programmes Advisor Tim Swann said this was the first food-based event the Commission had done with Pacific communities at the centre of the initiative.
“We asked Ignite’s students to find healthy, cost-effective dining solutions for large families, to get them thinking about budgeting and pulling out some real-life learnings,” said Swann.
“Today’s event gave local community groups the opportunity to come and engage with the learnings, connect with their local neighbourhood education provider, and find out more about the great digital Sorted resources and education programmes the Commission has.”
Level 4 hospitality student Fasi Uleautuli led the winning team to victory as maître-d for the mid-winter Christmas pop-up. She said the skills she has learned over the past week will benefit her for a lifetime.
“It was very nerve-wracking, but it taught me a lot,” she said. “Our group tackled the challenge by imagining we were putting on a celebration for our own families. We thought of all the yummy things we enjoy at special occasions, and then tried to come up with ways to keep the cost down, while still creating something beautiful. We’re only three weeks into our course so it was a big challenge, but a very valuable one. Now we all know how to better budget for Christmas this year!”
According to Ignite Colleges Chief Executive Rosanne Graham, the occasion was a fantastic way for the provider to contribute meaningfully to its local community.
“Many Ignite students and those in our wider South Auckland community have large families, which means special occasions, such as birthdays, are frequent calendar highlights. For those on a tight budget, feeding families for these events can be a big financial strain – but our students are here to demonstrate that families can still splash out without breaking the bank,” she said.
“Raising awareness about some simple steps that people can take to avoid the pressure of over-whelming debt is beneficial for the whole community. It’s a valuable conversation for us all to be having.”