MasterChef finalist scores international career

Gemma Wynne-Lewis

Food technology graduate Gemma Wynne-Lewis may no longer be on TV3’s MasterChef, but her career is well on its way up the food chain.

The 26-year-old graduated from Massey University four years ago with a Bachelor of Food Technology with Honours and was one of the final six before being eliminated from the latest series of MasterChef New Zealand.

Ms Wynne-Lewis says what she learned doing her degree helped her approach the show’s challenges from a scientific as well as creative point of view. “Understanding the interaction between ingredients, as well as gaining vital problem-solving skills, were all part of the course.”

She has advice for students wanting to move into the food technology industry: Do your research. “It’s not a subject many people know about yet, so talking to those in the industry is a good place to start.

“The Massey course is a challenge, but well worth it. There is a massive shortage of food technologists in New Zealand and, with a diverse range of career options and the ability to travel, it’s an exciting choice.”

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She is about to move from rural Hawke’s Bay to Melbourne to work in seafood production for Simplot Australia, the leading manufacturer behind popular brands Birds Eye, Leggo’s and John West.

“I grew up on seafood, so getting a job developing chilled seafood products is a dream come true. Consumers are demanding fresh, healthy, good quality meals, and that is something chilled products can offer.”

Massey University Professor in Food Colloids Matt Golding, one of her lecturers at the Manawatū campus, says he enjoyed watching her progress on the show. "While it’s a shame to see her finally eliminated, it’s good to know she’ll be continuing to be active in the food industry, with a new opportunity at Simplot.

“For people like Gemma, who have a real passion for food, taking food technology at Massey provides not only the right knowledge and skills needed to work across the many roles within the sector, but also provides hands-on experience, actively working with food companies during the course of the degree programme. This highly applied approach ensures our students have the best possible start to a successful career in the food industry."


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