Young mum balances family, work & study to pursue her passion for food at NMIT

Young mum balances family, work & study to pursue her passion for food at NMIT

Alicia Sixtus has been passionate about food for as long as she can remember, learning how to bake from her mum and grandmother.

After completing secondary school, she wanted to study for a career that was creative, exciting and experimental - “something that never has a dull moment”.

Studying to be a chef at NMIT ticked all those boxes. 

It’s not uncommon for parents to study at NMIT. There were three mums on the Culinary Arts course  in 2019 and there are three dads this year in the Trainee Chef (Level 4) programme.

NMIT’s flexible learning options and supportive tutors and staff make balancing study and lifestyle as easy as possible.

“I found not only did the course tutors offer a lot of support, but the people behind the course were always there for you also,” Alicia says.

She started with the one-year Trainee Chef (Level 4) programme and continued with the Culinary Arts (Level 5) programme in her second year.

Despite her busy schedule, Alicia’s time management and commitment to her studies saw her become a top-level student.

She says one of the highlights of her two years was the practical experience she got working in NMIT’s professional training cafe, restaurant and bar, Rata Room.

“This gave us a hands-on real-life experience of what it is really like to work in a restaurant.”

Alicia also had the opportunity to undertake an industry work placement at Hopgood’s, one of Nelson’s premier fine-dining restaurants.

“It was the moment I realised that this is what I have studied for, it’s a passion I have been wanting to chase towards all my life.”

NMIT Cookery Lead Tutor Chris Fortune says that “the future is looking very fresh” for future cooks and chefs in the hospitality industry.

“While the world continues to change it is a very exciting time to be at the forefront of what is happening locally and to be providing the best training for the future industry.”

Alicia says she is excited to continue her career as a chef and is currently working at gourmet burger restaurant, Burger Culture, in Nelson.

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