The Professional Business & Restaurant School (PBRS) which is part of Cornell Education Group whose students have received multiple awards at different hospitality and culinary competitions across the country takes pride in training its students by the best in the industry. One of the students who has worked hard to bring glory to the institute as well as adding a star to her CV is Chetna Balvant studying Hospitality and Culinary at the institute.

Chetna Balvant hails from Mumbai – also had a passion as a child experimenting over the traditional food cooked by parents. Mumbai as she says “is a colourful place which has vibrant evening life for the best that what Mumbai gives”. The evening street food is often represented as the “Soul of Mumbai” says Chetna. Chetna has always been a ‘foodie’ in Mumbaikar terms. She loves experimenting with different cuisines

In a brief chat with Chetna, she mentions her love for cooking and how the institute has helped polish her skills.

IWK: What made you choose Hospitality / Culinary studies as choice towards your career? Who was the reason behind your decision in studying this programme?

Chetna: My mother could be the ideal person who told me to do as per the choices of my heart. Me, as in most commonality for the average Indian kid – I did not choose what heart was longing for to be, but instead, I went with another choice of career. Later I found the motivation to chase dreams and make my future. I realised Cookery was an exciting and fascinating career path because there is some new to experiment and learn in every step. And Yes, I’m a creative person. I love using my ideas to modify a dish according to my knowledge. I’ve done that in the past and trust me; it has been an amazing experience because you also learn the importance of ingredients for a particular dish! 

IWK: What made you choose New Zealand and PBRS?

Chetna: I found New Zealand much vibrant; it’s a young country by age and with my passion for the food industry. I couldn’t see myself to be anywhere else, but here. New Zealand is a multicultural country and coming from a place like Mumbai where you’ve been exposed to authentic multicultural food who wouldn’t want to be a chef in a multicultural country to learn to prepare multicultural cuisines.

I was also looking for a culinary school that can push my knowledge and get National recognition. I got to know PBRS being the National Championship. I prefer to be the best in what I do; I decided to learn accordingly with the best.

IWK: How do you feel PBRS has shaped you into where you are in your career now and where you want to be in the future?

Chetna: The staff at PBRS are amazing, and most students agree. Student life is not just academic but an experience. I felt, I learnt a lot and also my time at PBRS has been a great journey learning and experiencing something new at each stage. Great friends and now that I am a confident chef, I also feel confident in doing anything I want. I must include it is people like Chef Raj, Chef Michael, Chef Vijay and our Administrator Kathy Ku – these folks make PBRS a better place, and without them, I am a shy person who has come out as an award winner. I am in debt to them for their constant support for me.

IWK: You have won awards at National and Regional Levels with PBRS, tell us about It.?

Chetna: It was amazing; my Tutor Chef, motivated me and emphasised that I should opt for it. I was supported by my school management, and they were all there at the event motivating and cheering me. I regard my Gold winning moment as one of the most highlighting moments. It was a dream comes true. I can proudly say that I studied at a school that didn’t only push me to do better but to be the best in what I can.

IWK: What is your opinion about PBRS, would you recommend a culinary study at PBRS?

Chetna: My personal opinion is that PBRS is not just a place to be for studies; it is also an experience. They have a wide choice in the culinary curriculum and have students from many parts of the world. It gives aspiring chefs a platform to compete and be innovative at the same time in a friendly manner. I will certainly recommend anyone interested in studying Cookery to study at PBRS.