A group of our Tokoroa students had no magic ring to call on for help as they helped feed 700 people during a work experience exercise at Hobbiton.
Sixteen culinary arts and food and beverage students from the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Tokoroa Campus were recently invited to work alongside chefs at the popular Matamata tourist attraction.
But it was no fantasy holiday as they had to serve and prepare food and drink for 700 Indonesian guests.
They made more than 10,000 pieces of finger food for 12 food stalls across 4 Hobbiton-themed venues.
"They were the top 700 sales people from throughout the country from an Indonesian insurance firm who were shouted a Pacific cruise," culinary arts lecturer Peter Skelton said.
"It was a really important experience for the students because they were working with international tourists which can be quite daunting because often they don't speak your language."
"Feedback from the food and beverage manager was fantastic and he was really happy with the professionalism of the students. He said they were prepared and well trained and helped them get over the line with that amount of people."
Students also had to dress up in Hobbit themed costumes.
Culinary student Jamie Ferguson described the experience as crazy but rewarding.
"We got to see a commercial kitchen in the works which was a really good experience because I have never been in one before besides the one here," she said.
"The amount of people there was amazing, it was crazy."
Fellow student Emma Peters said they all felt like they were part of the team.
"Even though we didn't actually work at Hobbiton we felt like we were part of the team and we had a good time getting dressed up and being part of a local tourism business," she said.
Student Becky-Jane Clifton, who currently works at the venue, said they made a range of dishes for the guests.
"There was a selection of hot and cold canapes for the night, fresh fruit and desserts but they went crazy for the kiwifruit," she laughed.
Skelton said four lucky students have also been offered jobs.
Hopefully this will become an ongoing thing as we forged a relationship with Hobbiton last year when we were lucky enough to send another group of students and three of them also got employed."
"One of them has already been promoted to second chef position so we are really happy with that."
"We try to train them as realistically as possible and this sort of thing is gold dust as it puts them in a situation where they can be put under pressure and work with professional chefs, "he said.