Press Release – NMIT
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s training restaurant – The Rata Room , opens to the public tomorrow (28 March) giving students the chance to showcase their hospitality skills and the public fine dining at a reduced cost. Media Release – for immediate use
Students put hospitality on show
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology’s training restaurant – The Rata Room, opens to the public tomorrow (28 March) giving students the chance to showcase their hospitality skills and the public fine dining at a reduced cost.
NMIT’s Programme Area Leader for Hospitality and Wellbeing Mark Bruce-Miller says the Rata Room’s primary aim is to provide a realistic environment to prepare students for careers in hospitality.
“It’s NMIT’s way of showcasing the work of our trainee chefs and restaurant, wine and bar students and giving them hands-on experience under the guidance of NMIT tutors,” Mark says.
“It’s also a chance for the public to support local students by giving them some work experience, while trying something new and having a fantastic meal for a fraction of the price you’d pay elsewhere.”
Mark says the restaurant will be served by year one students studying NMIT’s Hospitality and Cookery programmes. Second year hospitality students are on hand as sous chefs and mentors. All cooking is under the guidance of a fully-qualified head chef.
One of the students’ first big functions for the year will be to prepare a graduation dinner on 29 March for 23 Swedish students who have been studying cultural tourism at NMIT.
“The first year [Hospitality and Cookery] students have just had three weeks of food safety in the classroom, so now they’re buzzing to get in the kitchen. They’re very excited about having to plan and cook for the public,” Mark says.
The restaurant and its menu evolves through the year depending on what students are learning. Meals start as casual, buffet style lunches and dinners and progress to restaurant service and fine dining later in the year as the students gain more experience and their skills and knowledge improves.
Mark says the highlight of the year for diners and students is the degusation dinners which are hosted by a local guest chef and wine expert, and include around six courses matched to local wines.
“NMIT’s hospitality and cookery students experience the full spectrum of dining and cooking styles and techniques during their training,” Mark says. “The training restaurant is an excellent way for students to apply their skills and knowledge and to prepare them for work in a professional kitchen and dining environment.”
The Rata Room has been operating at NMIT for several years but only out of its current premises in the new Hospitality and Wellbeing building for three years.
Future plans for the Rata Room include more community interaction with workshops and seminars run by suppliers and partners, as well as master classes with visiting chefs and seasonal activities based around food and wine. Winemakers Seifried Estates and Kaimira Estate Wines have sponsored the restaurant, and their wines will be showcased through various wine courses.
Mark says the Rata Room may be a training restaurant but the meals prepared by the students are of a very high standard.
“I can hand on heart say that the Rata Room offers some of the best food in the Nelson region. If you haven’t tried it yet – you need to,” Mark says. “The feedback from the majority of people who’ve been here before is that the food is fantastic and well above what they would have expected from a training restaurant.”
The Rata Room Open from Weds March 28th, during term time. Opening hours are:
Weds – Lunch, 12pm onwards
Weds – Dinner, 6pm onwards
Thurs – Dinner, 6pm onwards,