Cooking up a storm in Abu Dhabi

Dressed to judge the best, Craig Lucas will soon be winging his way to Abu Dhabi.

In two weeks time, Craig Lucas from Waiuku, will trade the fresh country air of home, for the hustle and bustle of Abu Dhabi.

Craig is heading off to judge and coach at the 2017 World Skills International Competition. Held every two years, World Skills International brings together top youth competitors from over 75 counties. Competition categories include everything from web design and mechatronics, right through to bricklaying, floristry and Craig’s specialty, cooking.

As NZ Chief Skills Manager for Cooking, Craig will be one of 36 international judges assessing competitors in the cooking category. He’s also coaching NZ’s cooking entrant, Nicholas Todd (21), an apprentice chef with the NZ Army.

“The event runs over four days, and is structured so that we never end up judging our own competitors,” said Craig.

Those competing are generally aged 22 or less. They have already proven their exceptional talents, winning selection at qualifying competitions in their home countries.

Craig is a Senior Chef Lecturer at MIT’s Culinary School, and loves working with youth. “World Skills is such an amazing opportunity for young people to gain industry exposure and compete against the best. Talent scouts will be watching, and great things can flow from being part of a competition like this.”

“As well as judging and coaching, I’ll be networking with international chefs, and bringing back expertise to share in my role at MIT.”

Attaining second place himself in the Apprentice of the Year “a long time ago”, Craig is keen to give his time and expertise to those with aspirations in the cooking field. “I’ve been coaching Nicholas remotely using video and Skype. Our goal is for him to win a Medallion of Excellence for NZ, so I hope it all goes well.”

Korea identifies their talented youth around age 14, and they then begin training them towards World Skills domination.

If your teenager is showing talent in a particular field, you might like to steer them towards the World Skills website http://worldskills.org.nz . After all, they’re probably on the internet as we speak.

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