Punit D’Souza
Punit D’souza
Head Chef
Boat Shed Café

My love of cooking began in my early teens. Immediately after college, I enrolled in the Arun Muchhala International College of Hotel Management in Thane, Mumbai. I learnt a lot here and ultimately decided to travel, with my first stop being Kuwait to work as an Apprentice Chef in The Marina Hotel. This experience gave me the drive to learn more and I made the big decision to move to New Zealand. Here I enrolled for a Diploma In Professional Cookery Level 5 at the Western Institute of Technology, Taranaki. I understood that by engaging in more learning, I would be able to further my career and enjoy my chosen industry.

My first job in New Zealand was as a Line Chef at Wagamama. I worked hard, and under the guidance of Head Chef, Fabio Guerreiro, I progressed to the position of Sous Chef. Working at Wagamama I learnt how to enhance my relationship with food and got a feel for a busy kitchen environment.

Over my career in Wellington I have had the pleasure of working at many fantastic restaurants. These include Ortega Fish Shack, Bruhaus Bar, Hippopotamus Restaurant in the Museum Hotel, St John’s Bar, Louis Sergeant, and at Matterhorn under Head Chef Robert Maybach. My own career has been shaped by all of these experiences and I have been lucky to have learnt from a wide variety of people with varying strengths and ideas.

My journey finally lead me to Noble Rot Wine Bar where I had taken the role of Head Chef & Director. This gave me the ability to put all of the skills that I have learnt along the way into practice, while leading my own team of dedicated, professional chefs. I have had the pleasure of running a 2 Chef Hat kitchens and the freedom to create and celebrate the wonderful ingredients available in New Zealand.

A wonderful opportunity in Hawke’s Bay lead to me becoming the Executive Head Chef of Elephant Hill. I enjoyed my role there until the restaurant had to close down due Covid 19.

I then moved down South to Nelson and have enjoyed working at Boat Shed as the Executive Head Chef.