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Alumni Blair Son

Demi Pâtisserie Chef at QT Wellington’s Hippopotamus Restaurant.
Diplôme Avancé Culinaire in Pâtisserie Alumni.

Blair often baked at home with her mother from a young age which led to her love for French Pâtisserie. Blair's parents recognised her passion as she continued to bake at home and helped nurture her talent, ultimately suggesting that she learn pâtisserie through professional courses which lead to her decision to study at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand. She is now a Demi Pastry Chef at QT Wellington’s Hippopotamus Restaurant known for their upscale High Tea.

What was your experience like at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand and what did you take away with you?

"I loved that I was able to learn French Pâtisserie directly under the guidance of French chefs – all while being based in New Zealand, a multi-cultural and open-minded country. Studying at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand my classes were always small with about 10 people in a group, so it gave me many opportunities to ask detailed questions. I used to be quite shy and had never left my hometown South Korea before Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand. Now, I’m a lot more open-minded!"

 "Studying at Le Cordon Bleu ensured that I had a stable knowledge in classical and contemporary French Pâtisserie and that built the foundation of my skills. It also built my confidence, from creating even the most basic products, all the way through to advanced products and skills. I finished school with the self-assurance in my skills that I could take forward into a career in French Pâtisserie. I still open up the Le Cordon Bleu recipe book to remind me of the skills I learned when I’m designing a new dessert".

Tell us about your culinary journey so far – study, internships and work?

"I started studying at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand right after I finished high school in Korea. I took the Level 4 and Level 5 courses and during my time earning the Diplôme Avancé Culinaire in Pâtisserie, I had an opportunity to complete a 10-week internship at a local French Patisserie. This also became my first workplace as a pastry chef, as I got offered a job at the end of the internship period. After working at the Patisserie, I briefly worked at a local sourdough bakery as well."

Currently I’m working at QT Wellington’s Hippopotamus Restaurant as a Demi Pastry Chef. The Hippopotamus Restaurant is known for their upscale High Tea service and I create all of the items on the three tiers. I choose and plan the flavours and style. I’m free to change the menu regularly around the season – such as Valentine’s Day or Christmas. The whole kitchen puts our ideas together to design these special menus and most recently we developed a special 50 Shades of Chocolate High Tea for Valentine’s Day. Seeing my ideas turn into reality – from the Instagram photos to diners reactions – give me such a sense of accomplishment. I also work the occasional dinner service, which allows me to improve on both café-style and petit fours, as well as plated desserts. I am very much enjoying my role at Hippopotamus and the variety of work."

QT Wellington’s Hippopotamus Restaurant and 50 Shades of Chocolate High Tea for Valentine's day.

What are your Culinary goals for the future?

"I believe that life is more joyful when you have continuous short-term plans to look forward to. Life does not always work out as you plan, so it’s best to live in the moment and keep growing and learning. At the moment, my goal is to be able to stay in this beautiful country I fell in love with while studying at Le Cordon Bleu, and learn more about New Zealand’s local ingredients, inserting the flavours of New Zealand into to the French pastry technique."

Find out more about the Diplôme Avancé Culinaire in Pâtisserie:

Find out more about QT Wellingtons Hippopotamus Resturant:
@qtnewzealand, #HippoRestaurant