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Training Week at Pomegranate Kitchen

Rebecca Stewart

A really productive and fun week was had by all at the Pomegranate Kitchen training week, run by Sonia Tiatia from Dine Academy and held at Adulis Ethiopian Restaurant in Tory St. Our four chefs, women from Ethiopia, Syria, Afghanistan and Iran, came together to learn about health and safety, knife skills, and the processes needed to work in a commercial kitchen. They also taught us how to make some of their delicious family recipes, including baklava, biriyani, and spinach pie.


Every morning we would start with a coffee together, and then Sonia covered a few items of theory in the restaurant area in our makeshift classroom space. Because the cooks already have their Food Safety Certificates, the focus was much more on practical work so soon they were in the kitchen, chopping, stirring, cleaning and sorting. As well as food items from their home country, Sonia asked them what they were keen to learn, and some cooks wanted to know how to make icing for birthday cakes - something that is not so common in their home countries, but a staple here in New Zealand. Sonia being an ex-pastry chef was happy to oblige.

At the end of the training we had a delectable shared lunch with all of the food they had made that day, including spinach pie, lamb meatballs and tabbouli. Then Sonia presented them with a small paring knife, as a gift to start off their collection of professional chef’s knives. Thanks Sonia, and thanks Hajar, Muna, Fatima and Genet!


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