Helen White (Food Design)

  Sylvia Gilkinson

Since joining the team at Hospitality, I have become more aware of the difference between good service and bad service and the effect it can have. Our aim is to provide students with their best experience while studying at Otago Polytechnic so they will go on to become leading Hospitality professionals


  Daniel Pfyl
Principal Lecturer

Daniel has an extensive background in hospitality. Born in Switzerland, his experience has included executive chef roles for the Sultan of Brunei and the Hyatt Regency in New Delhi. Daniel began at Otago Polytechnic in 1999, and specialises in food & beverage management, cost control and marketing. He holds a Graduate Certificate Level 7 (Tertiary Learning and Teaching) and a Bachelor of Applied Management (Food and Beverage). He received the Excellence in Teaching staff award in 2011 and then again in 2012 with the Bachelor of Culinary Arts Team. Subsequently the team was awarded the National Teaching Excellence Award in 2014 and now he is a member of the AKO Aotearoa Academy of Tertiary Teaching Excellence. In 2019 Daniel completed his Master of Professional Practice.

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  David Gillespie

David trained to be a professional chef back in the 80's. He believes that if you are interested in pursuing this industry, you need to be very enthusiastic. When he began his career, ‘nouvelle cuisine' did not exist, and now there are even more exciting culinary changes on the horizon. David enjoys being part of a constantly evolving industry, and helping his students graduate to bigger and better things.

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  Fiona McLaren

Fiona has had over twenty years experience in Hospitality and has worked in five different countries during her career. She began at Otago Polytechnic in 2005, and loves everything about Hospitality. Fiona enjoys sharing her insights and experience with her students as a Front of House lecturer in Hospitality across all the programmes – from the six-month Café and Bar, to the Bachelor of Culinary Arts degree.

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  Julie Feary-Law
Senior Lecturer

Julie has had twenty years experience as chef in New Zealand and abroad. She has two passions: the first is producing good, simple, honest food; and the second is maintaining good food safety practices. She enjoys providing a flexible learning environment and helping students realise their full potential. Julie is the Health and Safety and Harassment and Bullying Officer. She looks forward to meeting new students and encouraging them on their chosen career.

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Renee Stringer
Community Manager

Programme Managers / Coordinators / Professors

  Adrian Woodhouse
Head of Culinary Arts & Food Design

Adrian Woodhouse (Kāi Tahu)

Dr Adrian Woodhouse is the Head of School of the Food Design Institute, Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand. As a chef and academic, Adrian’s research is positioned within Kaupapa Māori theory with a primary focus on kai (food), power and identity formation. In particular, Adrian’s research focuses on the power relationships, that exist within, the explicit and implicit institutional systems and structures of society.
Adrian's professional background is a blend of contemporary food design and artisan food production. He creates a learning environment that embraces the cultural diversity of his students. Adrian uses culturally responsive and collaborative learning strategies to bring innovative approaches to his teaching.

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  Richard Mitchell
Co-Head of Programmes, Independent Learning Pathway

Richard is a Professor in the Food Design Institute at Otago Polytechnic. As a consumer behaviour expert and geographer, he brings together an understanding of people and place to the design of food experiences, culinary arts and design curricula and food and beverage strategies.

Richard has a PhD in consumer loyalty in wine tourism from the University of Otago, as well as a BA (Hons) in Geography from the University of Otago, and Graduate Diplomas in Tertiary Education and in Tourism from Otago Polytechnic. He is a member of the managing committee for EatNZ, an industry body promoting New Zealand food to the world. He has previously been chair of the former New Zealand Food and Wine Tourism Network.

Richard’s current diverse research interests include food design, disobedient models of education, food and beverage consumer behaviour and regional development. He takes a student-led approach to postgraduate supervision, having experience supervising postgraduate students with a range of methodologies and subjects, including work-based learning.

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  Tony Heptinstall
Senior Lecturer

Tony began working in the hospitality industry aged 10, at his parents' pub in the UK. He has been working for Otago Polytechnic since 1997. His role as programme manager involves making sure that the school is a safe place to study and giving the students every opportunity to succeed. Tony teaches, assists, and is involved in the development and promotion of the Bachelor of Culinary Arts programme.

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Sheelagh Walker-Heward