Vocational advocacy – NZMA’s TASTE showcase

Around 1000 visitors flooded through NZMA's TASTE showcase event last weekend in Sylvia Park. The showcase was a chance for students at the NZMA school to display their skills and advocate for vocational options available at NZMA. NZMA provides programmes across a range of industries including hospitality, cookery, business, retail, trades, sports, early childhood education and health. The main focus at NZMA is preparing people with employment-focused vocational training that will lead to work.

The buzz at TASTE was tangible, and the students and attendees alike looked happy to be there. The level of skill was very apparent, with a multitude of intricate dishes flying past in every direction. The diverse mix of people made for an exciting, and perhaps an eclectic mix of foods. Speaking to a range of people involved also reassured that the students are in safe hands—the teachers clearly students' passions. The opportunities provided by NZMA help people transform their natural skills into a job/an employable skill.

NZMA pastry tutor, Ganesh Khedekar, 2015 Masterchef dessert finalist judge, and current New Zeland National team Pastry chef, along with his students, created a six-foot croquembouche filled with over 750 individual profiteroles. Khedekar said, "TASTE NZMA aims to showcase but also inspire future students, with a passion for cooking. It's about seeing what job opportunities are available after doing a programme with NZMA." In addition to the towering croquembouche, there were nibbles from around the world, live ice carving, baristas showing off their coffee skills and smoothies made by pedalling special smoothie bikes.