Chef William Takes on the World
Meet William Mordido, a young Kiwi chef who has come a long way after joining WorldSkills in 2012.
He was in this second year of apprenticeship at Sky City when he joined – and consequently won – the 2012 Regional and National Competitions of WorldSkills New Zealand. William was then selected to be part of the Skills Team (formerly called Tool Blacks) that represented the country at the WorldSkills International Competition in Leipzig, Germany in 2013.
On the WorldSkills International Competition, William says, “It was one of the hardest to do, but it opened a lot of doors, allowing me to join other competitions.”
This led William to a high-performance pathway:
2014 NZ Chef of the Year 2014 Overall Winner Fonterra Battle of the Tasman Restaurant Challenge, Fine Foods Melbourne (Gold Medal)
2015 NZ Hans Bueschkens Young Chef Challenge (winner) Pacific Region Semi-finals Hans Bueschkens Young Chef Challenge (Gold Medal) La Chaine De Rotisseurs National Final (winner) NZ Chefs Association Young Culinarian of the Year Fonterra Battle of the Tasman Restaurant Challenge, Fine Foods Melbourne (Silver Medal) S.Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year – Pacific Region (Top 10 finalist)
2016 International Jeunes Chef Rotisseurs Silver Medallist (2nd in the World)
2017 S.Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year – Pacific Region (Top 10 finalist)
In 2016, William was dubbed the youngest sous chef in Auckland, and acknowledged as the first New Zealander in more than 20 years to reach the winners’ circle in a prestigious chef competition.
“It was the first time someone from New Zealand has placed on the podium in over 20 years, so I feel honoured to have achieved that at this age and early on in my career,” he says.
On travelling the world over and joining competitions, William states that “It’s really good to meet heaps of people from all over the world. I love learning about different cuisines and they also influence what I make on the plate.”
His passion for cooking began at a very young age. He fondly recalls loving to watch his mum cook and began cooking himself at the age of five, soon after he and his family migrated to New Zealand from the Philippines.
“I love to create food; love the reaction people give when I give them a plate and they say it tastes good. I love making people happy. Food always brings people together. It’s what I love about my industry.”
William credits the start of his success to WorldSkills, says his participation boosted his career and put his name out there. “It was definitely the starting point of everything.”
He adds that “the WorldSkills International Competition was definitely the biggest competition I have participated in, Manchester only the 2nd.”
Looking back, he says he wouldn’t have succeeded back then without the instrumental support of Sky City Executive Sous Chef Peter Ray and his Onehunga High School teacher, Angie Wilson.
Asked what advice he can give to apprentice chefs, William says: “You have to think about the big picture – not just now, but from now until 10-20 years from now. You have to think about how joining WS would impact your family, friends, school. When I joined WS, that was all I did full-time. All or nothing. You have to be committed, but it will be rewarding, whether you win or not. Give it your all or it will just be a waste of time.”
In the end, he says it will be all worth it.
“I learned a lot from WSI – networking and dealing directly with suppliers, running an event, overseeing other catering staff, advertising, fundraising. I’ve also kept in touch with some of my fellow competitors.”
On trade skills, William reckons every Kiwi should get a taste from a young age.
“I did Gateway in high school and I actually think it should be made compulsory for all high school students. My view is that high school and uni don’t really prepare you for the workplace. Gateway does and allotting one day a week to do so allows you to not only contribute to society, but learn a trade and how to manage your time early on.”
Well-put by NZ’s rising culinary star.
With his insatiable hunger for innovative cuisine and the ability to stem inspiration from his heritage, William has formed his own company ‘Will Power NZ Ltd’, through which he provides chef consultancy and freelance chef services.
His latest project is ‘Buko’ (Filipino term for coconut), a global pop-up restaurant, with its debut pop-up dinner at the Private Dining Room in Melbourne on 25 October.
Follow William Mordido’s career and endeavours via Facebook.