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7 Nikesh
Nikesh in the kitchen. 

Nikesh Sivan has just completed the Level 5 Cookery Diploma at the NZSFW.

He is now working in a Mexican restaurant in Newmarket and aims to open his own place in years to come.

Early life and background

Nikesh comes from Fiji and his previous career was as a graphic designer but it was always his dream to become a chef as he has always been interested in cooking and baking. He spent 10 years in Vanuatu as a graphic designer and then bought his own small coffee shop back in Fiji, which he ran for about two years in 2017 and 2018. That helped him to enhance knowledge in cooking and then he decided to come to New Zealand in 2019 to do his cookery course.

“New Zealand was always attractive to me because it is a beautiful country and I was lucky to  Google and find the NZSFW where I met Celia, who explained it so well that it made sense to me. It was all go from there.” says Nikesh.

Now that you have graduated, what are your goals?  

“I now graduated at the end of March this year from the Level 5 Cookery Course. I am now working at a Mexican restaurant in Newmarket and have applied for a work visa. My future goal is to have my own small café in two or three years’ time. My interest is in pastries and special cakes such as wedding cakes. I did a short course in baking and pastry in Fiji and my interest grew from there.”

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Nikesh with Chef Des Harris and other class mates. 

What are some of your best learning memories of studying at the NZ School of Food and Wine? 

“Every day was exciting. I always looked forward to it. During levels 3 and 4 I had to be at the school at 7.30am and it was very exciting getting there early in the day. The assessment days were also very exciting. We served the entrée, main and dessert and it was always challenging, so it provided a really good chance to learn.”

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Here are some images from Nikesh's Bistro Menu cook - Entrée Goat's cheese and caramelised onion crostini, Grilled Salmon Crispy Wafer Skin and Saffron infused Cardamom Ice cream for dessert. 

Advice for other students?

Entree Nikesh Reijieli and Drew

“You have to be punctual so that you don’t miss out on anything. Even being 10 minutes late means you can miss out on so much. And I would also say to anyone who’s thinking about studying, don’t do a course just for the sake of doing it. I think you’ll enjoy the course if you do it for the love of it. Don’t just do it for the sake of getting a qualification.”

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Celia Hay

Celia is a qualified chef and holds the WSET (London) Diploma of Wine. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History, Master of Education (Distinction) and MBA Master of Business Administration from the University of Canterbury.

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The School

Founded by Celia Hay, the New Zealand School of Food and Wine opened its first campus in Christchurch in 1995.

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