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New Tutor Teaching the Noble Art of Cuisine

April 26, 2012

A chef who has cooked for the Queen is teaching EIT students how to create cuisine fit for royalty.

Newly-appointed chef tutor Korey Field brings a wealth of experience and skills to his teaching role at the Eastern Institute of Technology.    As he points out:  “I have been an active competition chef for 10 years straight, winning most things I have entered.”

Korey trained at Rotorua’s Waiariki Institute of Technology, and as a young chef he worked for hotels, including the Sheraton Rotorua Hotel and the THC Rotorua International Hotel.  

“Every chef should work in a hotel,” he says.  “They are so busy, employ many staff and provide a very buzzy environment.  Every day at work is both exciting and stressful.” 

 For the last 10 years, the pastry chef has prepared indulgent treats for guests at American billionaire Julian Robertson’s luxury lodges.  Most recently based at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, he also coordinated food operations at Te Awa Winery, Kauri Cliffs Lodge in Northland and Queenstown’s recently-opened Matakauri Lodge.

Prior to that, Korey was pastry chef at Huka Lodge, starting at the boutique riverside accommodation shortly before the Queen and Prince Philip were welcomed for a short stay on their New Zealand royal tour.

Briefing lodge staff on the royal couple’s requirements, the Queen’s butler discouraged kitchen staff from preparing multi-course meals and dishes they might find too rich.

“The Queen would not eat anything bigger than my little finger,” Korey recalls. “They had tea and toast for breakfast, and yes, she really did have cucumber sandwiches with white bread.”

Prince Philip joined Korey at the edge of the Waikato River to feed scraps to the gathered ducks, trout and eels.    

The Queen, he says, looked like his nana – “but she had a fierce handshake, like she was the most powerful woman in the world.”  While Korey has cooked for other royals and many VIPs, he considers her to be the most interesting by far.

He enjoyed his three years at Huka Lodge and would love to return as a guest.  What enticed him away was an offer he couldn’t refuse – working at the newly-opened Kauri Cliffs Lodge as pastry and sous chef. 

“There are so few pastry chefs in New Zealand,” the 35-year-old says.  “Once your name gets out there, the jobs come to you.”

The role doesn’t involve plating dishes, but preparing everything from jams and cereals for breakfast through to petit fours at night.

“Everything falls on you,” Korey says.  No-one covers your days off.  It’s incredibly draining and you need a lot of experience to be able to do it properly.”

Living in Taradale with wife Tracey and their three young children, Korey applied for the teaching post at EIT because he wanted to further his career and, as a chef who has enjoyed wide-ranging work experiences, he was looking for a new challenge.  

He is looking forward to a five-minute commute to EIT and to teaching a new study programme introduced this year.

“I’m sure teaching on a daily basis is going to have its own challenges.  But I’m used to working with a mix of people and diverse personalities.  I’ve also been on campus before to teach classes in speciality areas such as sugar work, carving, bread making and chocolate making.”