Mikey Takiwa on the art of work and a winning personality
Mikey Takiwa says he caught the ‘travel bug’ after his team from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology in Rotorua won the 2017 Nestlé Toque d’Or competition.
As part of their win, he and fellow team mates Bethaney Mae Allen and Mikael Aranga went on an all-expenses paid trip to Sydney to attend the Fine Foods show. Mikey decided to continue his travels and headed to Germany shortly after.
Since returning to Rotorua, Mikey says he has settled in nicely as Bar Manager at the Ponsonby RD Lounge Bar.
“I’ve come to see the art in my work,” he says.
Mikey who was the restaurant service competitor in the three-person team that won the event, says he began to really appreciate how important it is to work on his craft.
“Not only can I showcase my skills and expertise to others, people who visit the bar also value and appreciate it.”
He says winning Nestlé Toque d’Or has had a positive effect on both his personal and professional life.
“There was a lot of satisfaction and great pride in what we’d achieved amongst people at the institute and our peers. It’s also opened up plenty of opportunities within the professional space.
“I’ve received a lot of attention within the local industry including messages of congratulations from restaurant owners and even a few job offers.”
Despite the attention, Mikey says he has remained level-headed and appreciative of the position he’s currently in.
“One of the most important aspects of the competition that I took away with me is how useful hospitality relationships can be. Good connections create even better opportunities and sticking by and maintaining great relationships with your work mates is always vital.”
Mikey says the competition brought him and his two teammates, Bethaney Mae and Mikael, closer than ever.
“One of the most enjoyable parts of being involved in the event was meeting new people. I made a lot of new friends in the lead up to and immediately after Nestlé Toque d’Or.”
As for candidates aiming for top spot at this year’s competition, Mikey has a few words of advice particularly about keeping cool under pressure.
“Slowing things down and staying focussed is key,” he says.
“Just remember, it doesn’t matter how perfect and professional you are if you don’t let your personality shine then you won’t score highly.”
Mikey says working in a hospitality service role can sometimes feel robotic.
“However, doing a great job front of house is often the secret ingredient when it comes to setting you and your establishment apart from everything else.
“Try telling yourself: ‘This is my house!’ Be strong and confident, and trust in you and your team and you’ll always do well.”
Mikey says he sees only continued success in his current bar management position and an upwards career path from there.
“Nestlé Toque d’Or had an undeniable impact on my life and it will have the same effect on this year’s competitors too.”