Love food? Whip up a new career at Ignite Colleges’ recently-opened cookery school. Learn from top chefs in brand-new commercial kitchens, gain skills the cookery industry urgently needs, and build real industry experience with an internship.
Who can enrol?
If you are 16 years or older, seeking a stepping stone to a junior chef position in the cookery sector, start your journey here.
What will I learn?
This hands-on course will give you the knowledge and expertise you need to start your career in this fast-paced, creative industry. Build foundation chef skills in our cutting-edge training kitchens and complete an internship for some real workplace experience.
You will cover:
Basic dishes with meat, egg, fish, pulses, grains, rice, pasta, vegetables and fruit
Basic sauces, stocks and soups
Workplace health and safety
40-hour internship with an industry employer
What qualifications will I gain?
New Zealand Certificate in Cookery Level 3
Where will this take me?
This qualification will show employers you have the skills and knowledge to step into the industry in a junior level chef role. Work your way up from there – or give your career a boost by staying on to gain your Level 4! Either way you’ll stand out from the crowd by having trained at Ignite Colleges!
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about this course
What do I need to enrol?
It’s easy! All you need to bring along is proof of citizenship or PR. We’ll help you do the rest. If you are an international student, please contact us first.
How much does this course cost?
You might be eligible to do this course for free! Talk with our Student Support Team to find out. If not, you may be eligible for loans and allowances, and we can help you with that.
What time does my course start and finish?
This course runs from 8am until 12 noon, Monday to Friday. * course time may be subject to change
Am I eligible for a travel allowance?
If you are aged between 16 and 19, yes! If not, we can sit down and discuss what assistance you might be entitled to.
What resources will I need?
We provide you with a chef uniform (including coat, trousers, apron and hat), knives and a bag. All you need to provide is a pair of closed steel toe non-slip shoes.
What does a typical day look like?
You’ll be in our brand-new training kitchens, learning about recipes and cooking. This course is very hands-on and will teach you everything from basic baking skills and knife skills to how to cook soups, meats and sauces. You’ll learn to create a variety of dishes in our realistic kitchen environment with professional chefs, so you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when you get a job.
Is work experience part of the course?
You will get plenty of hands-on experience during this programme – our cookery students cook for our school café ‘Study Break’, and also do the catering for Ignite Colleges industry functions and events.
This 20-week programme includes 15 weeks in the training kitchens, and five weeks out gaining real work experience in a café or restaurant. We have great industry contacts and can help you line this up. If you carry on to Level 4 you will have the opportunity to do an internship in Spain at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
We also encourage students to work part-time in a restaurant or café while they are studying. Classes finish by lunchtime so it’s easy to manage an afternoon or evening job – plus it’s a great way to put everything we are teaching you into practice!
Will you help me get a job?
Yes! As part of your course we spend time working on interview and CV skills to make sure you leave us work ready. We also bring in speakers from industry to talk to you about what today’s employers expect. As well as this, our tutors have great industry connections and can introduce you to potential employers.
What jobs can I apply for after completing this course?
This is a high-demand sector with lots of exciting job opportunities. Once you have done this course you could be a commis chef in a restaurant or café, or work for a catering company. We can help you find a job – or alternatively, stay on for Level 4 and keep building your skills.
Can I travel overseas with this qualification?
Yes you can! This qualification opens up exciting opportunities to travel overseas. Our chefs have international experience and contacts, and you may be able to connect to their networks.
Never before in history has food been such a big deal. What was once merely fuel to power our bodies, is now a multi-billion-dollar industry. This global foodie frenzy means one thing - training in culinary arts is a very smart move. There’s a huge shortage of qualified chefs in New Zealand – in fact it’s on Immigration New Zealand’s long-term skill shortage list.
By 2025 visitor numbers to New Zealand will be close to 5 million, and thousands more chefs will be needed. They’ll be needed in restaurants and hotels, cafes, bars, and catering companies. They’ll be needed in fast food joints, hospitals, retirement homes, schools, and government buildings. For chefs with talent, passion, and a qualification, the options are vast.
What makes a great chef?
As well as having an aptitude for cooking and a flair for food presentation, successful chefs need a wide range of other skills. During meal service kitchens can be frantic, so the ability to stay calm under pressure, and work quickly is crucial. The hours are long and often include evenings and weekends, so flexibility and stamina are prerequisites. Sound knowledge of everything from food safety to nutrition is a must, and chefs need to be able to work well as a team.
There are several other professional skills and personal attributes that will help set chefs on the path to promotion, including:
knowledge of budgeting and stock management
ability to price and plan menus
leadership skills and ability to train and supervise staff
efficient record keeping
keeping ahead of the latest developments in nutrition, food technology and cooking techniques
be reliable, adaptable and highly-organised
be strong and fit
excellent communication skills
This is a high-demand sector with lots of exciting job opportunities, so once qualified, the chances of getting a good job are excellent. Start off as a commis chef. You’ll earn between minimum wage and $18 an hour and work across all areas of the kitchen, preparing and cooking food and sometimes washing dishes and cleaning. Work your way up, and your salary and areas of responsibility will increase accordingly.
Chefs de partie usually earn $18 - $20 an hour and are in charge of one section of the kitchen. They train and supervise staff, plan menus and order food. Sous chefs are second-in-charge of the kitchen, and earn $18 - $25 an hour, while head chefs (or executive chefs) are responsible for the entire kitchen and could earn anything from $22 - $49 per hour.
While many chefs master their craft in restaurants, cafes and hotels, there are plenty of other workplaces that require the skills of a culinary arts professional, such as:
bars and taverns
corporate catering firms
airport catering companies
fast food outlets
Or branch out into other food related areas - start your own business, become a food product developer or an artisan food producer.
The tourism and hospitality sector is currently New Zealand’s second largest export earner. Overseas visitor numbers have doubled every decade since 1970, topping 3.7 million in the year ending January 2018. And that number looks set to keep rising. Tourism spending is forecast to grow to 15.3 billion in 2023, and visitor numbers will rise by 39%. Each one of those visitors will need tourism staff, hospitality professionals and chefs to cater to their needs.
Here's a profile and video of our awesome General Manager Jasbir
She’s an innovative, charismatic, human dynamo - and she’s breaking new ground and changing lives every day. Ignite Colleges’ General Manager, Jasbir Kaur, is well-known and highly regarded in the education, hospitality and cookery sectors both here and overseas. She has previously opened two cookery schools and was campus manager for one of New Zealand’s biggest culinary training providers. After ten years working as an executive chef in the US, Indian-born Jasbir moved to New Zealand in 2009. Since then she has hosted radio shows, presented TV cooking programmes, and been a regular judge at New Zealand’s top national culinary arts competitions. Prior to joining Ignite in 2017, Jasbir was working as a chef at one of the world’s top restaurants, the Michelin-starred Disfrutar, in Barcelona. Her ability to inspire those around her, combined with her passion for culinary arts, will ensure Ignite Colleges blazes a trail in tertiary training.
“At Ignite Colleges we pride ourselves on preparing people for successful careers in high demand industries. Our newest offering – and one that’s very dear to my heart – is culinary arts. Our unique programmes inject real flair into culinary arts training in New Zealand. Students can even complete cookery internships at a Michelin restaurant in Spain as part of their course! I want to help New Zealand become more of a culinary destination, by training chefs who will push boundaries and make their mark globally. By taking up the reins at Ignite Colleges, I have the opportunity to do exactly that, in the very heart of Manukau.”
Already a whiz in the kitchen? Turn your talent into a career with our Level 4 culinary arts programme. Gain hands-on training in our state-of-the-art commercial kitchens and learn innovative culinary skills from top chefs. Plus, you’ll graduate with real work experience thanks to our unique internship programme.
Serious about becoming a world-class chef? Our International Diploma in Culinary Arts is the perfect recipe for success. Learn the latest culinary skills from Olympic chefs and secure an internship in a Michelin-star or award-winning restaurant – either in New Zealand or Spain! This revolutionary programme will set you apart and can launch your career not just here, but anywhere in the world.