Kiwi Cooking Class - The Art of Pavlova

Last year, our Springbank Study Northland Ambassadors (Malindi Reihana-Ruka, Ellie Epley, Jaluka Clarke, and Youssef Awad) were extremely lucky to be able to attend an awesome cooking class with a professional chief (Mairea) at QRC in Paihia.  Read their stories below…



“I was given the opportunity at the end of 2020 to experience a QRC cooking class with the Springbank School student ambassador program.  The day was amazing, four of us travelled to Paihia for a morning of cooking, and to have the greatest kiwi lunch ever.  We made fish n chips, a delicious salad and even a container of home-made mayonnaise of which I had extra to keep for my days in the sun. 

After our massive lunch we decided to crack on and finish off our pavlova, we added mascarpone, kiwifruit, mint… and far too many types of berries until atop our pavlova’s sat a mountain of fruit.  It tasted amazing!  The pavlova was hard on the outside and soft in the middle, cream topping and fruit brought out the amazing flavours and better yet, I had more. 

I took home the container of pavlova to present to my family, what I had hoped would last for a few nights was quickly gobbled up that evening, although, if I were honest, I was probably the reason the pavlova disappeared that night.

The trip was incredible fun with amazing food and a brilliant chef who made my experience an awesome start to the holidays, and an experience to remember.” – Jaluka Clarke

“During summer break I had the pleasure of taking a cooking class at QRC Culinary at Paihia Pacific Resort Hotel. Youssef, Jaluka, Malindi and I were taught by a professional chef how to make fish n’ chips and pavlova. These are commonly eaten foods in New Zealand and are a part of the culture here. For example, pavlova is eaten on many occasions such as Christmas or at gatherings. We did everything from cutting the fish to making the sauces and plating.

I really enjoyed this experience because I learned so much about how a kitchen runs and how chefs prepare for work. I now know many little techniques I didn’t know before about how to make your pav the perfect texture, and how to fry your fish and chips efficiently.

I especially appreciated the opportunity because I’ve never taken a professional cooking class before it. I think my highlight was sneaking a few bites of fish while we were waiting for other pieces to fry with Malindi. We were way too hungry to sit patiently with platters of freshly fried fish n’ chips in front of us and not eat any. We then realized that we’d have to plate a whole dish for ourselves and eat that after we had already filled up from snacking. I believe everyone’s lowlight was probably how full we were afterward.

Overall it was such a good time! The only thing that could’ve made it better would’ve been a refreshing swim at the hotel pool after the hard days work.” – Ellie Epley

“This was an incredible experience as we got to learn from a professional chief in a fast-paced busy hotel kitchen, how to cook our typical kiwi dish of, fish and chips, and pavlova.

To start with, we jumped into the role of chief by putting on an extremely flattering apron and hair net!  (Not 😉).  We then had to find the space in the kitchen where we wanted to create our masterpieces.  And next, get all the necessary equipment and ingredients so we were ready to go.

First, we started by prepping the fish, cutting the potato’s, and making a tartare sauce for our fresh green salad.  Second, we made our meringues so they could go in the oven whilst we deep-fried our fish and chips.

Finally, after a long-anticipated wait, we got to eat our yummy fish and chips, which I must say, were very good, and super filling.  They were so good in fact, Ellie and I could not resist picking / “testing” whilst we were cooking.  So, when we got to eat our meal, we were way to full!  However, this made my parents extremely happy, as I got to bring them back some of our leftovers.

Next, we moved onto the pavlova, yummm!  Which I learnt, was quite quick and easy as all we had to do was whip some cream, and nicely place the fresh fruit we all wanted to use on top of our meringues.  Again, even though Ellie and I were still super full, there is always room for dessert!

Overall, this was such an awesome experience!  Not only did I really enjoy working with our Springbank Ambassadors and getting to know them all a little bit more.  I also really enjoyed learning how to good cook our nations typical kiwi dish, I also learnt a little bit more about QRC, which I found very interesting!

A huge thank you goes to Jo from Study Northland, and Nic from QRC for making this awesome experience possible.  Also, a huge thank you also goes to Mairea for teaching us how to become professional chiefs 😉! – Malindi Reihana-Ruka

This was a BeKiwi Experience! More about BeKiwi…