Mentoring programme launched for rising young chefs

15 February, 2016 by
Hospitality Business

rsz_ora_king_kevin_hopgood_hopgoods_nelsonThey could very well be New Zealand’s next generation of Matt Lamberts, Michael Merediths and Nic Watts. And now they have the opportunity to capitalise on the skills and experience of some of the country’s most successful restaurant chefs in a bid to advance their careers.

Young gun chefs from around New Zealand will soon be vying for one of five positions as part of Ōra King Salmon’s new Next Generation mentoring programme launched last week. The aim is to help the successful applicants – commis and chef de partie with two-to-three year’s kitchen experience – develop the skills to excel in the industry.

The programme is split into two stages: a one week stage at the allocated mentor’s restaurant between 29 March and 3 May and a one day workshop and follow up day in Auckland with topics covered by mentors and industry experts such as leadership, life balance, provenance, social media, trends and dish inspiration.

The Ōra King Next Generation Mentoring Programme targets young up-and-coming chefs who must apply for a position. The mentoring programme combines hands on experience and theoretical ‘modules’, both mentored by some of our leading kitchen professionals.


Five mentors and restaurants are participating in the inaugural year. They are Andrew Brown (Dragon’s Den Social Lounge, Christchurch), Chetan Pangam (One80° Restaurant, Copthorne Hotel, Wellington), Darren Johnson (MASU by Nic Watt, Auckland), Kevin Hopgood (Hopgood’s, Nelson) and Simon Green (Halo at Trinity Wharf, Tauranga).

New Zealand King Salmon marketing general manager Jemma McCowan says Ōra King is committed to elevating the quality of all professionals in the industry. “We are well established with our Ōra King Awards which recognise outstanding contributions from experienced chefs working with the brand. The Ōra King Next Generation mentoring programme coupled with the Ōra King Chef’s bursary provides our younger talent with opportunities to learn, develop and shine. We know there is some exciting emerging talent out there and we’re pleased to be able to offer these opportunities.” 

Mentor Darren Johnson of MASU says he’s proud to be involved. “The Ōra King Next Generation mentoring programme is a great opportunity for young chefs to quickly progress their careers by learning from those who have been there and done that across a variety of cuisines and styles.”

Entries for the Ōra King New Generation mentoring programme open at (chefs and events) today (11 February) and close on 6 March.

Each applicant must have the consent of his or her head chef or manager to enter and must be available to participate in both stages of the programme.