Sharing Skills: Our School Holiday Programme
The series of high school holiday courses that we run each April, July and October holidays continue to demonstrate that young people remain curious to learn more about a world of hospitality.
And Hospitality remains something that is accessible to high school students and often provides their first opportunity to get a job. Gaining confidence in how to interact and communicate with the strangers is a life-skill.
We know it’s also exciting for these young people to come into Auckland City. Some need to get up very early to travel from Orewa. Others travel by train or bus into Britomart.
It’s a taste of the working world, and this is very stimulating. We enjoy welcoming these young people into our school and know this is a very positive experience for them.
With a full high school holiday programme in April, we were very happy to welcome Year 11 - 13 students from:
Whangaparaoa College, Glenfield College, Long Bay College, Rangitoto College, Michael Park School, Takapuna Grammar School, Northcote College, Orewa College, Auckland Grammar, Westlake Girls, Westlake Boys, Avondale College, Western Springs College, and Kelston Girls' College and Rosmini College for private courses.
Understanding what constitutes a mocha, or an Americano or a flat white is part of the basic knowledge required to for work in a café. When studying the art of the barista, students also need to learn the mechanics of a coffee machine: the pressure valve, the steam wand, how the grind of the coffee directly influences the extraction and flavour of a coffee.
There is a lot of chemistry here including the pressure applied to grounds by the tamper or not boiling the milk so that it is denatured.
There are practical tasks such as learning to manage your space, wash coffee cups, clean up and wipe benches down. Students learn about balance and how to run coffees: to walk around holding cups and saucers without slopping the coffee into the saucer or onto the floor. Key skills to surviving in a café world.
There are practical tasks such as learning to manage your space, wash coffee cups, clean up and wipe benches down. Students learn about balance and how to run coffees: to walk around holding cups and saucers without slopping the coffee into the saucer or onto the floor.
These are key skills for surviving in a café world.
Gaining some basic cooking skills is fundamental to surviving in a student flat or being able to help cooking the family dinner.
We try to make these sessions more aspirational, including how to make a Quiche Lorraine, the traditional way, including the pastry. There’s no pre-made, frozen pastry here! Skills like, rubbing the flour and butter to make the pastry, chopping the onions, sautéing the bacon then whisking the eggs and cream into a custard. The results are outstanding, and we know that the students are fascinated to have created such a gastronomic treat.
Over three days they work through the programme, which does include a food safety unit standard so they are learning about temperature control and how food will perish faster if this is not managed. We hope that they leave the course with a new respect for the rotation of stock in the fridge at home and how this will avoid wastage and save money.
Poaching eggs, whirlpool method, shows the students how easily eggs can be transformed into a delicious, quick snack that they could prepare for themselves in the future.
Eggs Benedict is a highlight and while the tutor makes the Hollandaise, the students poach their eggs, fry the bacon, and toast the English muffins, and find enormous satisfaction from eating this hearty and favourite dish of New Zealand.
Café Attendant, Bartending and Mocktails
Tips on learning how to communicate with customers and understanding how an à la carte menu is structured is part of the art of hospitality.
There are Practical Sessions which focus on roleplays - on how to set tables, take orders in a professional way, carry trays of glasses or plates correctly. This sessions help the students to develop new skills and confidence.
Many young people start out as runners in cafés and restaurants where they take food to customers and support a more senior member of staff who oversees the table.
The Bartending and Mocktails course (no alcohol here!) takes customer service behind the bar and looks at flavours and mixes that excite the guests. And it’s fun to stand behind a restaurant bar, take orders and shake and stir mocktails in real-time.
These holiday courses are very social and it's exciting to meet new people from different schools and cultures and to extend their social network.