Proud to be a chef at last

Proud to be a chef at last

Patricia Ching spent her life working as a cook, never thinking she had the time or money to qualify as a chef. But at CPIT’s recent graduation ceremony, at the age of 54, that is exactly what she did – thanks to CPIT’s Centre of Assessment of Prior Learning (CAPL).

“I always wanted to be a chef from the time I was 18 but never had the money or the backing to push me to do it, so I stayed a cook and just worked in the industry,” Patrcia said. She mentioned to her husband in passing that she regretted not qualifying and he suggested she try CPIT.

Food and Hospitality tutors there referred her to CAPL – where she found she could use her experience and knowledge to earn academic credits. It suited her, because she could continue to work but study in her own time.

Patricia works for a location catering company as Function Coordinator. It’s a busy and varied role that sees her driving a kitchen truck around the south island and the lower part of the north island, organising staff, designing menus, cooking and updating the company website.

Patricia Ching

Despite her obvious professional competency, receiving her chef qualification has had a huge impact on her life.

“My self-esteem and confidence has sky rocketed as I now have fulfilled my dream and the people I work with are as proud as punch that I did it.

“My pay increased and now people seem to value my advice and guidance more than they used to. My friends are proud of me, they treat me with more respect, and I think I am generally a happier person. I know I will never be a Gordon Ramsey, but hey I'm not sure I would want to be. I have an ambition I am working on to own my own business one day and if I can achieve this qualification then I can certainly do that.”

Patricia was expecting graduation to be the proudest day of her life. Her son was flying home from Perth to be there and her daughter sent an apron with number 1 chef embroidered on it. “Both my kids were stoked that I have done this and are proud of me as well. It has spurred my daughter on to find an apprenticeship as a pastry chef as she has worked with me in the past and also enjoys the hospitality trade.

“So all in all this is my proudest moment, being able to say to people that I am a CHEF and a bloody proud one. I put my heart and soul into the dishes I create and do it with aroha.”