Fri 1 Feb 2019

Perfect match at Bach

When the Bach on Breakwater’s newsletter celebrated the quality of WITT trained staff it had on board, WITT News couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to write about it.

The words were penned by Barbara Olsen-Henderson, who owned the Bach – one of New Plymouth’s most popular eating establishments.

She told customers “we are so lucky in New Plymouth to have WITT - Western Institute of Technology Taranaki - our local polytech.”

The former students she highlighted all came to WITT as international arrivals.

She noted most restaurants in New Plymouth benefited from having a pool of chefs - both qualified and trainees – “right on our doorstep” and said over the 12 years the Bach had been operating, it had been lucky to have employed several of the best from WITT.

She went on to introduce some of them, starting with Rahul Radhakrishnan, whom she described as “the short good-looking guy in the kitchen” (although he's at great pains to point out that he's not actually short, he is actually the average Indian height.).

When WITT News caught up with the team this week there had been a change.

Barbara has sold the Bach on Breakwater business – to Rahul. Instead of being his boss, she is now his landlord.

She and husband Alan are now running Lemonwood Eatery, their new restaurant, two minutes’ walk from their home in Oakura.

They opened Lemonwood, between the village supermarket and bar, in November.

She stands by her comments about the availability of students from WITT.

“We have a very useful pool of talent available to us here in Taranaki and the importance of this can’t be overstated.  Rural areas such as ours are often struggling to get quality staff,” she said.

Rahul studied at WITT in 2012, completing a Level 5 Diploma in Cookery before finding work, initially at Gusto and the Bach on Breakwater, then in Auckland where he spent two years.

He returned to the Bach as Head Chef in 2017 – and by October last year was the new owner of the establishment.

Rahul hails from Mumbai in India and says he prefers the “good feeling” of life in New Plymouth to the busier streets of Auckland.

His wife Shivani works at IncaFe Coffee Roasters in New Plymouth and his sister Ritu, in India, has applied to study at WITT.

WITT’s link to the Bach also extends to kitchen hand Amit Gautam, who is a current student, and former student and now head chef Gaurav Rathi, who has recently returned to India to get married.

He says buying the restaurant was a perfect move for him.

So too it seems, is the move for many international students to Taranaki.


Pictured: Rahul at his restaurant Bach on Breakwater