Danielle’s working at Parts & Service in Hardy Street, under the tutelage of Head Chef, Robin Goetzke.
The restaurant was opened in November by seasoned chef, Dan Monopoli. Robin needed staff to help run the kitchen and he was more than happy to offer the opportunity to Danielle.
He says he likes NMIT graduates because they have a firm grasp of the fundamentals, but they’re also enthusiastic and eager to learn.
Danielle is studying Level 5 Culinary Arts at NMIT while working at Parts & Service. The job allows her to apply what she learns in class directly in a professional kitchen, providing invaluable experience.
Parts & Service specialises in charcoal-fired food and its most prized possession is a freestanding Josper charcoal grill. This means Danielle is being exposed to a unique method of cooking.
The restaurant’s top sellers are the flat iron steak, beef short rib, and the baked potato gnocchi.
The strong meat theme of Parts & Service might seem at odds with recent food trends, but Robin says that meat still has its place as part of a healthy diet.
The restaurant epitomises what it means to be a local business. Robin sources all of his meat, vegetables and herbs locally. The staff, like Danielle, are locally-trained. And most of their regular customers are locals, too.
Robin says it’s important to know the quality and origin of the food he’s cooking and serving to customers. Working with local suppliers was the best way to do that.
“New Zealand is a small country we have got to look after our suppliers.”
He describes the menu at Parts & Service as “honest food” served with rustic charm. Dishes can be shared, creating a friendly, relaxed atmosphere to enjoy good food with friends after a hard day’s work.
Robin says the future of the restaurant industry is bright and full of opportunities for students and new graduates.
“People will always eat. There will always be jobs for a chef.”
He encourages aspiring chefs to be curious, ask lots of questions, and demonstrate a willingness to learn. It’s the best way to make a good impression and gain a job in hospitality.
Find out more about NMIT's Cookery and Hospitality programmes.