Private Nicholas Todd was well prepared for the intense two-day cooking challenge, because it was the culmination of several cooking competitions.
7 October 2016
Young Dunedin chef Nicholas Todd won a gold medal in cooking at the 2016 WorldSkills New Zealand competition.
The event is New Zealand’s premier work-skill competition. Most winners go on to represent New Zealand at WorldSkills International, which is held biennially.
Private (PTE) Todd, 20, a former John McGlashan College student and now a chef in the New Zealand Army, was representing the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) at the competition, which was held at Wintec, in Hamilton, from 30 September to 1 October.
The competition featured 67 regional finalists showcasing their work skills across 14 industry categories. Each competitor completed a project over two days, replicating “real-world” problems and tasks.
PTE Todd was part of a team of 10 NZDF members who won six medals, including four gold, and the Sir John Ingram Trophy for Best Region.
“It was amazing to win gold, a real achievement,” he said.
He will now go to the selection phase to represent New Zealand next year at WorldSkills Oceania in Melbourne, followed by WorldSkills International in Abu Dhabi.
PTE Todd said he was well prepared for the intense two-day cooking challenge, because it was the culmination of several cooking competitions.
Before WorldSkills, he competed in two NZDF cooking competitions, for the Roy Smith Memorial Trophy, in 2015 and 2016, where camps and services compete against each other.
He also competed in the Gourmet Pacific International competition earlier this year.
PTE Todd, who joined the Army three years ago, is based at Burnham Military Camp near Christchurch.
“I love cooking – that is my passion – and that’s why I chose to be a chef. And I joined the Army for the opportunity to travel with my job, and serve my country,” he said.
“What attracted me to this trade was that at one moment you could be in the kitchen serving troops for normal daily meals, and the next you could be cooking out of our field equipment, either in New Zealand or overseas – working alongside different countries, cooking with them – or being a soldier, patrolling and doing drills.”
He also enjoys the camaraderie of being in the Army.
“I enjoy the people that I work with in my job, because they are more than just work colleagues – they are my brothers, and family.”