Gateway to apprentice chef

Posted on 2017-05-18 by CM

A taste of life in hospitality has led to a chef apprenticeship and dreams of owning a café for a dedicated and focused Taranaki teenager. Daria, 18, is an apprentice chef at New Plymouth’s Marinovich’s Seafood Restaurant and Café, and says she has the Gateway programme to thank for helping make an informed decision about her chosen career. The former Spotswood College student entered the Gateway programme in year 12, not sure what she wanted to do when she left school and preferring the idea of being out in the workforce than in formal education. “My parents had been in hospitality and I had been helping them since I was 10, so I had always considered hospitality. But I also had thoughts of going into childcare, particularly working with special needs children, so I decided to try Gateway as it would give me an idea of what was involved,” Daria says.

Through the programme, school students spend time in a workplace, usually one day a week, to gain practical skills and knowledge about that job and career. Daria arranged to spend time at Spotswood Primary School and, for one day a week for two terms, worked with special needs and mainstream students. “I enjoyed it, but after spending time there and helping the teacher aides I decided it wasn’t me,” she says.

Her focus turned again to hospitality. She completed a STAR (Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource) barista course, and arranged a placement at Marinovich’s, mainly in a front of house role. It didn’t take long for her reliability, enthusiasm and passion for food and hospitality to be noticed. After just four weeks she was offered a part time job and when a chef position became available soon after she jumped at the chance and was offered a fulltime apprenticeship.

“I absolutely love it and Gateway was really helpful in making up my mind about what I wanted to do. Being able to talk to people in the industry and having a go at what you’re considering as a career is really important. You can’t go wrong because you can always try something else,” Daria says. When she has completed her (on the job) three year apprenticeship through ServiceIQ, Daria has plans to travel, learn more skills under different chefs with different ideas and, ultimately, have her own cafe. “I like the idea of having a café rather than a restaurant because I feel you get to experiment more with food and ideas,” she says. “It’s really exciting.”


Taranaki Futures acknowledges and supports the achievements of young people in our region. Our vision is Strong Employment, Strong People, Stronger Communities.