A highlight of Ali Bahmad's time at WelTec has been working with Annabel Langbein, a connection he's continued.
“I worked with Annabel in Wellington a few years ago for Visa Wellington On a Plate where she came to WelTec looking for a chef,” says Ali. “We got on well and stayed in touch, and I ended up doing a sustainable seafood culinary competition with her in Bermuda for the America’s Cup last year.”
“My goal is to get each of the students in my class industry ready and into employment that suits them,” says Ali, who teaches Level 4 Cookery, as well as some STAR courses for secondary school students.
“The students and tutors at WelTec all challenge me to be the best version of myself. I want to produce the best chefs as that's a reflection of myself and the standards we set here.”
Ali trained in Australia and worked there for 15 years in hotels, fine dining restaurants and casual establishments.
“I went pretty much straight out of high school into studying cookery at the InterContinental Hotel School in Sydney. Once I finished my studies I decided I wanted to spend the next few years working in different establishments to gain a better understanding of cookery.”
He worked at the Hilton Hotel for four and a half years, award winning Italian fine dining restaurants, Saké (fine dining Japanese) and finally before moving over the Tasman, Ali was sous chef of Sydney Cove Oyster Bar and Restaurant for over three years.
“You learn from all of those experiences. At the Hilton we had 11 kitchens and the head chef kept pushing me and improving my technique. I worked at one of the Italian restaurants from pre-opening through to its first year of operation and I can tell you opening a restaurant is quite a different experience again, but so thrilling.”
He got itchy feet and wanted to share his skills and knowledge. “I love teaching. I enjoy connecting with people and I learn so much from them; it’s really about learning together,” says Ali.
“I share with them my own industry stories and connect it back to our learnings. This is one way to help them be ready for industry, for what’s out there. I don’t sugar coat it. Our industry can be very cutthroat; but it’s also incredibly satisfying. Be humble and hardworking and you will do well in the industry.”
To learn more about our hospitality programmes, visit www.weltec.ac.nz/hospitality.
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