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Karen (Qinmo) Guo

Culinary Arts Level 4 & 5

What were you doing before coming to study with us?

I was studying food science at the University of Auckland when I realised my dream was to become a chef. 

What made you decide to study with us?

I visited two culinary schools in Auckland where I had interviews and tests. After I visited NSIA, I felt an instant connection as it seemed organised and professional. 

What were the highlights of your course?

I can't speak more highly of it. I’ve learnt everything from NSIA. Before coming to NSIA, I had no idea about cooking in commercial kitchens. During my study I really gave 100% and did well in both practical and theory classes. I was also the class representative for 2 years in a row and, all chef tutors were very supportive and helpful. 

The big highlight was my selection to compete in Toque D'or 2017. The training was the best time of my life. I had improved a lot and sharpened my skills under the intense training of my two NSIA trainers. 

Where are you working now?

I’m currently the Chef de Partie at Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill, a sophisticated waterfront restaurant in Auckland.

How did you get the job?

After I competed in Toque D'or 2017 the tutor manager chef Oliver introduced me to the head chef at Harbourside. I went for a trial, which went really well, and then I started working part-time there until I graduated and became full-time employee. 

What are the highlights of your job?

I'm learning something new everyday! To me, that’s one of the most important things about being a chef. My head chef, Shaun introduced me to another competition Ōra King Salmon Next Gen, so I’m currently working towards competing there.

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

It is great to have dedicated staff who help you polish your CV and also they gave me the opportunity to participate in ten volunteer programmes at Depot, a fast paced and fresh eatery and oyster bar by award winning New Zealand chef, writer and TV presenter Al Brown. 

What are your goals for the future?

To keeping learning and to find "me" on a dish!