Culinary Swiss Scholarship Career Affirming For Waiariki Graduate

03 May 2016

Seeing Switzerland and Italy while on a five week scholarship creating Swiss breads and chocolates may sound like a dream for some, however earlier this year it became a reality for Waiariki graduate, Rebekah Watson.

Last year, her Diploma in Patisserie and Bakery class were offered the ability to fundraise for the once in a lifetime experience. Fortnightly baking products to sell at the Kuirau Park markets, the team soon raised enough money to send one of their number to work within two Swiss bakeries; Bakery Konditorei Bad in St. Moritz and Café Brändle in Unterägeri.

“I was shocked to win the scholarship,” says Rebekah. “I never expected to get it just because all the girls I went up against were amazing. I was so chuffed. I couldn’t have wanted anything more from my years studying at Waiariki.

“All those five o’clock starts on market days were definitely worth it. This trip was just amazing and I also got to see Italy, which was really big for me as I had never traveled before.”

Thankful that during her time creating Swiss breads at Bakery Konditorei Bad she had Waiariki chef tutor, Renato Zanoli’s family on-hand for support, she admits that it was during her patisserie based stint at Café Brändle that her passion became even sweeter.

“I loved that whole two weeks working with chocolate, it was really amazing for me. That is my passion, so it was really exciting every morning to get to work. I was immersed in it.

“Despite the language barrier, everyone was just lovely and so inviting the whole time. Language did affect the recipe translation too, but luckily cooking is quite practical, so once you are shown how to roll up the breads and things it is actually easier to learn that way than by talking.

With her Mum the key supporter that consistently pushed her to go for the hotly-contested scholarship, Rebekah now says friends and family have been both excited by the opportunities and experiences she has had, as well as quick to offer to taste what she has learnt.

“One of my bosses let me bring back quite a few recipes and I have been trying them out. They are cool to have as they’ll last forever.

“Staying in the industry is my main goal now. I’m currently working in a bakery, but I’d like to find something that’s focused on patisserie. Decorating cakes and creating chocolate molds, that’s what I’d love to do.”

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Page last updated: 02 May 2017