Pop Up Restaurant a real success

News News & events

25 Aug 2016

student cooking soup

The pressure was on for the 2nd year Ara Diploma in Culinary Arts students as they faced the challenge of running a Pop Up Restaurant at the City Campus with a budget of only $20 and one hour to prepare three courses. This was part of their Diploma assessment.

Cookery tutor David Tame wanted the students to experience a real life situation and get outside of the comfort of the kitchen.

"This assessment is about broadening their horizons instead of a traditional assessment like cooking a dish in the kitchen. They were not only tested on their cooking skills, but on a range of skills, like menu planning, budgeting and costing, food safety and sustainability. We tried to bring all of that together in one assessment."

Once the students finished their dish, under the eye of the customers, they had to serve their food. It was the first time a Pop Up Restaurant was used as part of the assessment process.  

"It turned out to be a great success. We got a lot of positive feedback and we will definitely do it again next year with new students."

It was a long-term project where students learned to plan and work under pressure. They had been preparing since February and had to grow their own vegetables at home and document the process in order to have more options for the menu.

"I enjoyed it, because I feel I improved a lot. I'm doing and learning at the same time, which is a great feeling", says student Mandy Xu.

"I was a little nervous at the start, but it is good practice and it makes me better. It will also be useful for our future careers. I made a beetroot and apple salad, a beef mince pasta with cheese and a puff pastry with custard and mix berry sauce. I think the customers were happy!" adds student Ziqi Wang.

Future Cookery assessments will be more like the Pop Up Restaurant. "Times are changing and especially in Christchurch after the earthquakes. We have to stay up to date and expose our students to this. We need to let them do assessments in a real world atmosphere. We will try to send them off campus more often, because there is more to Professional Cookery than the traditional restaurant scenario," adds David.

The Pop Up Restaurant turned out to be a real success. The Culinary Arts students did a great job, with 99% of the customers' feedback being very good to excellent and all students passed.