Industry of opportunity

Nick Keen has a culinary career that allows him to express his creative vision, and help influence the chefs of the future.

Nick Keen


I’d worked previously as a restaurant cook—but the degree opened up a new world of possibilities.

“I’d worked previously as a restaurant cook—but the degree opened up a new world of possibilities.”

Nick Keen is currently employed as Executive Chef at the Mercure Resort Queenstown. It’s his first time running a kitchen, but he really enjoys the everyday challenges the position brings.

I love the variety – learning to work within the constraints of the hotel operations, but also being able to express myself within our hotel’s concept. I enjoy training up the new and younger chefs that I work with too.

Nick was finishing his New Zealand Certificate in Cookery (Level 4) a few years ago when he made the decision to enrol in the Bachelor of Culinary Arts. He knew that he had a passion for cooking, but he also had an eye to the future.

“I thought it would be a good chance to further develop my skills and do something a bit different within the industry.”

Two highlights of the degree for him were the charity dinne­­r that students organised and hosted in just the first year of the course, and the final year project where students could choose to work on whatever they wanted – so long as it fitted within the marking criteria.

Happy in his new role, Nick has this advice for others considering the degree: “Life’s too short not do what you love – you can do whatever you want in this industry, so long as you have the passion for it!”


Nick Keen