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João Carlos Sandi

Diploma in Culinary Arts - Level 5

What were you doing before coming to study with us?

I was on a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand, working full-time as a Barista. I was lucky enough to work for a café where the owners and Head Chef encouraged me with the idea of studying culinary arts. So I had been learning about cooking with them, and then added my study.

What made you decide to study at NSIA?

I was always curious about cooking, mostly because of my grandmother, but I always treated it as a hobby. I did some research, and I realised that NSIA was the best place for me to study, because of its location and reviews from other students.

What were the highlights of your course?

The support and patience of our tutors, especially when they were sharing knowledge, not just about recipes or techniques, but more about life experience, establishing a business, costs and everything behind of a dish.

What did you learn that helps you in your current role?

I reckon that anyone can learn different techniques with some practice, but the real understanding of a kitchen environment, respect, responsibility and life experience from successful professionals were the key factors that helped me to succeed in my career so far.

What is your current job and where are working?

I’m currently Head Chef at Major Tom, a quirky café group in Auckland.

How did you get the job?

It was advertised as a café not yet opened, but it is the same creators of Winona Forever, a renowned cafe in Parnell, with lots of opportunities for the right candidate. Challenge is what makes me move forward, so I had no doubt that this was the job I wanted. The Careers and Employment team helped me with my CV and prepared me during my time in NSIA to behave properly for job interviews.

What are the highlights of your job?

Working with great people, who see the café / eatery business in a different and fun way, and a company that believes and trust in you, giving you proper training even when it seems that you don’t have enough experience. This is no doubt the highlight of my job. I also enjoy being able to be part of designing the menus which I find really cool!

How valuable have the services of the Careers & Employment teams been to you?

The Careers and Employment team are incredible. They are people that work hard to create a network and increase the chances of students, like me, to find a challenging job.

They helped me a lot in terms of creating my CV, to find previous jobs, and preparing me for the hospitality industry.

What are your goals for the future?

I am quite ambitious, so I always have short, mid and long-term goals. For now, I am focused on learning as much as possible, getting experience, challenging myself every day to improve, especially in the areas that I don’t feel comfortable. My wife and I are expecting our first child and that is huge. So, for the future I plan to have my own business where I can develop and present my ideas, hopefully inspiring and encouraging people to follow their dreams in this beautiful hospitality industry - but the most important is to make my daughter proud.

What do you like about working in New Zealand or do you plan to work overseas?

New Zealand has a great environment - it is safe, the weather is quite good for me, people are genuinely nice, and it also has great produce. I do plan to go overseas to do some training and experience different cultures. I think it inspires me, but I will focus on developing my life in New Zealand.