The world of hospitality was never a career calling for Janine Quaid. “I fell in to it,” she says. “It’s a place I feel I now belong.”
She runs four sector-related businesses, is an award-winning trainer and over a period spanning 19 years has been judge and chief judge for the National Culinary Fare, NZ Hospitality Championships, Hospitality New Zealand awards and Nestlé Toque d’Or, NZ’s premiere student competition.
If that’s not busy enough, she is now the executive officer of the New Zealand Chefs Association.
This national body represents all Kiwi chefs, cooks and trainees, patissiers and confectioners with links to affiliates around the world. It’s quite the culinary arts institution.
She points out that the current NZChefs Executive comprises eight experienced and dedicated industry leaders and is on a quest to inspire the members, so the one stop shop is “perceived as relevant in today’s culture”.
The upcoming New Zealand Hospitality Championships in August in Auckland will be a great sampler of this vision. “It’ll be bigger, brighter and better,” she says. The competition will feature all sorts of innovative competitions from amateur through to trained professional cooking, cocktail making to even bed-making. A trade expo will complete the package this year.
Yet when you look back at Janine’s long-established Bay of Islands family roots, heart for hospitality and drive to better herself, it all makes perfect sense. It’s been carried in her DNA since day one.
After all Janine’s mother, Myra Larcombe, is in the Halberg Hall of Fame for her lifetime of service to swimming. A sport that Janine religiously trained for day in and day out during her formative years.
That commitment to the training discipline has never left her. Several of Janine’s companies lead the industry by offering a NZQA level hospitality diploma for working professionals through to developing bespoke standards and workshops, procedures manuals and business guidance, specialising in the niche market for artisanal producers.
Manaakitanga or hospitality in te reo Maori “that’s all encompassing and says everything” has also played a huge part in Janine’s past as well as her present. Coming from Northland growing up within a very diverse and multi-cultural community shaped her deeply too.
Today she’s chosen to give back through offering a full New Zealand Diploma in Hospitality scholarships to Maori iwi.
Her Grandfather also paved the way originating “the first cream run” in the Bay of Islands. It preceded Fullers Ferries that operate the famous Cream Trip today.
Her grandfather’s boat, the Owaka, a Collings & Bell design, built for Lyttleton Ferries in 1927 and launched the same year Janine’s mother was born, was discovered in Ruakaka a few years ago. Given how pivotal it was to the family, Janine promptly bought it back.
The beloved boat is what she calls “a metaphor for life” while fizz boats race past on the water, the kauri vessel epitomises old school style and substance. It’s an essence mirrored by the proud owner as well.
“Always deliver more than expected” is emblazoned on the wall of her Grafton headquarters. After discovering her long list of both private and public sector training partnerships, it sums up Janine’s leadership style and conduct in a nutshell.
Ask her what career advice she would give to a millennial chef, or anyone in the hospitality Industry as Janine adds, “Be kind, be honest and be authentic.” All very wise words for both young and mature to live by.
Words: Sarah Sparks
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