A CULINARY NIGHTMARE THAT TURNED INTO A DREAM
Written by: Venal Naidu
Kerusha Naidoo (20), a final year student from the International Hotel School (IHS), has had her wildest dreams come true securing a job in Disneyland in Orlando Florida.
“The closest I thought I will ever get to Disneyland is by watching Disney Channel and now I’m going to work there,” said Naidoo.
Her first job in grade 10 was at Balmoral Hotel on Marine Parade where she worked in a hot kitchen and pastry. However, things weren’t exactly smooth sailing.
“At first I hated it; it was physically demanding, hours were long and I spent all holidays working,” explained Naidoo.
After sometime she decided that this would be her career path.
“After a while I learnt the true nature of hospitality, it’s not just a job but more a way of life,” Naidoo added.
She had a few options for her university application but always knew that the International Hotel School was right for her.
The fees at IHS were expensive and that was the only negative. But she was later made aware of the annual bursary competition and entered it.
“I applied and got shortlisted to the top 15 thereafter I went for a panel interview and got shortlisted to the top 5,” explained Naidoo.
The last step was an interview that involved practical work.
“We were placed in Tala Game reserve in Camperdown and had to work in every hotel department. Thereafter I had another interview with the principal of IHS and the general manager of the lodge. I then won the award for best in the kitchen.”
Naidoo was placed 2nd and received a 50% discount on her fees.
She decided to study towards a diploma in Professional Cookery and Kitchen Management, a three year course that required her to be ten months on campus and ten months in the working environment.
Over the past three years she has served her work experience at Suncoast Hotel, Elangeni Hotel, Oyster Box and various resorts across the Kruger National Park.
Having worked at many luxurious resorts, her next move is quite surprising even for her.
“It’s something that I never thought could ever happen. A good couple months ago I applied to work in Disneyland in Orlando Florida USA. The interview required me to answer 35 culinary questions. It was cut-throat but I tried to answer them to the best of my ability,” she added.
She received an email from Disneyland notifying her that she got the job. She was elated with the news but insists that all credit goes to the people that helped her over the years.
“I am so grateful to those that have pushed me to be here, especially my mum and the chefs I worked with and most of all I am so grateful to the chefs who saw the potential in me,” she concluded.
Naidoo will leave for the United States of America in October this year.
*Caption: Kerusha Naidoo in her chef’s attire, leaves for Orlando Florida in October