Wed 6 Dec 2017

Inspiration from above

Ashley Bracegirdle’s inspiration has come from an uncle she never met.

Geoffrey Muir was destined to become a top chef, she says, and that is why she began studying towards qualifications in cookery in 2015.

But Geoffrey died in his sleep with his bride Rowena after hydrogen sulphide seeped through the floor of their motel in Rotorua where they were on honeymoon.

Ashley’s family observed the 30th anniversary of the tragedy this year.

She will look back on 2017 with mixed emotions – she also lost a cousin who, just a few months earlier had talked to her about finding work, and suggested she could stay with him in Wellington.

But 2017 has also seen a positive milestone. Ashley, who turned 20 this year, is leaving WITT as the first domestic student from WITT with a Level 5 Diploma in Professional Cookery.   

She is now looking for work – “I would love to work in a hotel, or do catering myself,” she says.

WITT counsellor Margaret Smith said even though Ashley had struggled with losses she had reached out for help to keep on track with her studies and was appreciating the achievements of study as well as overcoming adversity.

“She worked in the hospitality industry while she studied full time and is now ready to expand her work experiences with qualifications under her belt,” she said.

Ashley, who was born in New Plymouth, attended Inglewood High and reached a point where her pathway advisor suggested she should enrol at WITT to follow her passion. She left school in 2014 and was fully enrolled at WITT the following year.

She had negotiated preparation work through the Trades Academy and earned New Zealand Certificates in Cookery at Levels 3 and 4 before gaining her diploma this year.

Uncle Geoffrey would be proud.

Picture: Ashley Bracegirdle is saying goodbye to WITT’s kitchens and looking for a new one.