A $2000 scholarship from catering and hospitality giant Southern Hospitality has been the best Christmas present ever for Otara mum Rose Peihopa.
Rose is one of just five tertiary students from around the country to receive a Southern Hospitality Bakery Scholarship for 2017. The grant will help pay her fees for the Diploma in Professional Cookery Level 5 programme that she’ll be doing at top cookery school NZMA next year.
“I was dumbfounded when I found out I had won the scholarship,” says Rose, who has just completed her first year of cookery training at NZMA.
“I wasn’t just happy – I was over the moon that a Maori girl from Otara won a scholarship. I’m still in disbelief actually!”
Rose says the $2000 grant will be a huge financial help.
“It means that when I graduate from NZMA I won’t have as much of a student loan - plus it’s really exciting to have money to put towards something that I really, really want to do.”
After eight years as a stay-at-home mum Rose decided to pursue her love of food by enrolling on a Level 3 cookery course at NZMA earlier this year. This week she will qualify with her Level 4, and is champing at the bit to get back into the training kitchens next year to gain her Level 5 diploma.
“I am so grateful for all the support and encouragement I have received from my NZMA tutors, my classmates and my friends and family. It was really hard going back to school after all those years of being a stay-at-home mum. Without being surrounded by people who have my back, and are always there to push me along, I don’t think I would have gotten this far.
“The biggest thank you of all though needs to go to my kids, as I did it not just for myself but for them too. Whenever I had my head stuck in books or had to sit an assessment, I’d think of them. They were my drive and my inspiration.”
The talented young mum hopes to use her culinary skills to help children in South Auckland.
“After I graduate with my diploma I’d like to start off by giving back to the community and volunteering some of my time in South Auckland primary schools, helping out with their cooking classes. I was helping out at Dawson Primary School in Otara and had an amazing time, so I’d really like to carry on with that.
“One day I’d also like to travel the world, experiencing different cuisines from different countries. It would be great to try and incorporate a bit of my own culture into the mix as well! Eventually though I’d like to work towards starting my own catering company.”