Basic knife skills were the order of the day when classes began at Wellington's new Le Cordon Bleu culinary school this week.
The purpose-built $13 million Cuba St hospitality and cooking facility has a roll of about 50 students, many of them international, including 26-year-old Brazilian Rodrigo Schulz, who came to New Zealand to brush up on his English.
Now Mr Schulz will spend six days a week studying for a double diploma in patisserie and cuisine.
"It's really exciting just to get started. I've got butterflies," he said.
He expected the intake of 16 cuisine diploma students would work together to help each other learn as well as taking expert direction from Wellington chef and Le Cordon Bleu head of cuisine Adam Newell.
Mr Newell runs Mediterranean-themed Wellington eatery Zibibbo and will tutor at Le Cordon Bleu three days a week.
After just a few hours of lessons in the state-of-the- art display kitchen he said several of his class of 16 could be culinary celebrities.
Commitment seems to be in good supply with many of the budding chefs having left careers to pursue their love of cooking.
"I reckon there will be potential stars," Mr Newell said.
Working chefs are always in the process of training, but returning to a purely teaching role had been a boost for the Michelin- starred chef.
"I've almost started testing myself. It's like the first day of school for me too. It's refreshing, a jolt in the arm."
- The Wellingtonian