Restaurant gives students chance to practise

USP Program Facilitator Commercial Cookery Nadi Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre Manueli Tabote (third from left) with students Lina Yacalevu (left) Kelera Viria and Teresia Kubu hold a Fettuccini & Pesto Sauce dish at USP Pacific Fusion Restaurant in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

IF you want to experience true fine dining at a fraction of the cost then check out the University of the South Pacific’s newly minted Pacific Fusion Restaurant in Namaka, Nadi.

The training restaurant — run and managed by the university — boasts menus put together by students themselves that could easily grace the table of any five-star tourism property in the country.

USP Pacific Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Nadi Hospitality Training Centre team leader Parijata Moeva said the three-week-old restaurant would provide a platform for the tourism students to practise what they learnt in the classroom.

“This is a training restaurant with a fully operational commercial kitchen and bar that opens to the public every Thursday and Friday from 12pm to 2pm,” she said.

“The idea of the restaurant is to firstly give our students the opportunity to practise what they learn in the classroom and secondly to prepare them for what they can expect in the tourism industry.

“It allows our students to open up and engage with members of the public so that when they do get into the workforce they have a fair idea of what to expect. “We have a similar restaurant at our Laucala campus and that has been running really well.

“So since the start of Pacific TAFE in Nadi, we thought it was fitting to open our Pacific Fusion training restaurant here as well.”

She said customers could be served with ala carte menus at a very reasonable price.

“The restaurant is not profit oriented. We are more focused on teaching our students about the different dynamics of running a five-star restaurant.

“So we will serve resort-style menus, along with the level of service that you would find at a very high quality restaurant.”

The centre’s commercial cookery program facilitator Manueli Tabote said the training restaurant was focused on preparing students for the demanding tourism sector.

“For our trainee chefs, we want to ensure that when they do enter the job market, they are prepared to work in a busy kitchen. “A resort restaurant is very different from a restaurant you will find in town because the standards are very high so we want our graduates to be able to meet those standards.”

Apart from meeting, greeting and serving guests every Thursday and Friday, Pacific TAFE students are also preparing for the 2018 Moffat National Salon Culinaire.

The three-day competition brings together professionals and trainees from the tourism and hospitality sector to showcase their skills set. The competition begins tomorrow at the Fiji National University’s Namaka campus.

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