“I’ve always wanted to one day get into teaching – I had good role models during my training and want to give others a goal to work towards and a purpose, supporting them into a career like I was,” he says.
Te Waka Kai is both a mobile hospitality training initiative and food truck used at on-campus and at community events to share information about upcoming programmes and short courses campus-wide.
“We’re lucky to have someone with Ricardo’s combination of experience and skills and we’re excited about what he can bring to the role,” says WITT Te Pūkenga Trades Training, Primary and Creative Industries Deputy Director and Hospitality Lead Angela Ferguson.
Many people will recognise Ricardo from the Liardet Street Project where he worked in his food truck Chiwi - named in recognition of his Chilean heritage and Kiwi home - serving Spanish and Latin American cuisine.
“I’m already getting requests for food like empanadas and I’d love to add a Latino twist to some of the food we serve,” he adds.
Ricardo was born in Chile and grew up in Melbourne where he trained and worked as a chef for 20 years before moving to New Zealand and eventually discovering Taranaki.
“I bought my food truck up to the Tattoo Festival, WOMAD and music events and fell in love with the mountain and beach and could see a thriving hospitality scene that reminded me of Melbourne.”
Now happily living in New Plymouth with his partner and young son, Ricardo is keen to get stuck into his new role and will be at his first event this weekend – look out for Te Waka Kai at the Seaside Market in New Plymouth this Sunday (2 April) and say hola to Ricardo.