St John’s College students brought home a plethora of awards from the New Zealand Hospitality Championships, with Ethan Redward recognised as the Top Secondary Student of the Year.
It marks another successful competition for the school’s own award-winning culinary institute, led by Culinary Arts Head of Department, Mr Craig Ireland.
The championships, held 18–20 September in Auckland, saw four St John’s College students win five gold, four first in class, one silver and two bronze.
Ethan was awarded first in class and gold with distinction for his mushroom mousse tortellini with a bacon consommé, which scored 100 per cent. He also won gold for his Classic Quiche Lorraine.
The award came as a surprise to the Year 13, who aspires to become a chef.
‘I didn’t know if I was good enough and I was stressing about it the whole time. But I am very happy with the end result.’
He has been a part of the Culinary Arts Institute at the college since Year 9. He credits Mr Ireland for his growth in the past couple of years.
‘He is an amazing cooking teacher. I would be nothing without him. It shows as I went from a barely passable quiche to a gold quiche in just a couple of years, which is quite good.’
With a particular interest in fine dining, Ethan has an apprenticeship lined up with The Farm at Cape Kidnappers and a goal to study at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke’s Bay.
Seth Howes won first in class and gold in Barista, and first in class and silver for his scone. He also won gold for his coffee infused smoothie, and the Havana Innovation Award.
Vincent Jones won first in class and gold for his classic kiwi biscuit, and bronze for his café sandwich. Daniil Bailey got a bronze medal for his café cake.
Mr Ireland says the result is testament to the hard work and dedication shown by the students.
‘To get this many golds, and this many first in class at a national event, and then to get top secondary school student with 100 marks in one of his dishes is absolutely amazing.’
While he has heard of industry chefs receiving 100 marks, Mr Ireland says he has never heard of it happening to a student.
‘The students do start with competitions in Year 9 so by the time they get to Year 13, they know how to win, they know what the judges are looking for and what to do, but they’ve still got to put the hard yards in to make it happen.
‘So it just shows that it is working, and they are all doing very well.’
The Hospitality Championships were brought together by NZ Chefs Association as part of Hospitality Summit 22. The championships brought emerging and established talent to show off their culinary skills and creativity in front of judges and the industry. The three stacked days of competitions featured competitors from all levels of training – ranging from secondary schools to specialty industry classes.