Hospitality whizz shakes her way to an award

19:18, May 07 2012
Phoebe Davis
BIT OF THIS, BIT OF THAT: Okurukuru Winery assistant manager Phoebe Davis mixes a cocktail during the Taranaki-Wanganui Hospitality Competitions at Witt yesterday.

Phoebe Davis' talent with the cocktail shaker helped her claim the Junior Service Person of the Year award at the Taranaki-Wanganui Hospitality Competitions at the Western Institute of Technology yesterday.

The 19-year-old New Plymouth woman won a silver medal in the classic cocktail class on her way to the title and said she liked experimenting with different cocktail flavours.

"You can add anything and make a cocktail to your liking, add a bit of this and that, and you can make something amazing," she said.

The Okurukuru Winery assistant manager, who has already competed at national level, also won golds in table setting and wine and beverage, and silver in barista, to win the overall award for junior competitors.

"I was calm because I've done lots of practice, usually about three times a week," Miss Davis said.

About 100 people from secondary schools, tertiary institutions and the hospitality industry took part in the event, which featured cooking, front of house, barista and cocktail-making classes.

Witt hospitality tutor and head judge, Caroline Shaw, said she was excited by the quality of the competitors, who were chasing certificates, medals and prizes worth up to $500. "The talent has been really good, especially from the schools. It's been really impressive and it's pleasing to see they are dressed properly and are giving it a go," Mrs Shaw said.

Winners from yesterday's event, organised by the New Zealand Chefs Association, now have the option of going on to the nationals in Auckland later in the year.

- Nadia Stadnik is a Witt journalism student.