Finnie graduated in Accounting and Business Studies from the University of Botswana but had a complete change of heart and decided to follow her passion for cooking with the Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Food Production & Cooking and Level 2 Barista Skills course at New City College, Hackney campus. Below we find out all about her journey, her values and her time at college.


Tell us about your education journey – what and where did you study before coming to NCC?

I am a graduate in Accounting and Business Studies from the University of Botswana and I am also certified in Enterprise Risk Management from the Botswana Accountancy College.

Tell me something about yourself

I was working in a bank as a Legal Collection Officer when I enrolled to further my education in business and finance with one of the universities in London. But I later changed my mind as I decided to follow my passion of cooking. I didn’t want to do something that looks good to the world but does not feel good in my heart. So I enrolled with NCC for the Food and Culinary course and I haven’t looked back.

What’s your ambition in life? 

To continue developing my skills and experiences and working with the best chefs. I would also like to be able to experience all aspects of food, culture and history.

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 15-year-old self? 

Nothing is impossible as long as you are passionate, willing to learn and work on developing yourself.

Who is your role model?

Chef Joseph Seeletso. He is the first black professional TV Chef in Poland and he is from my home country of Botswana in Southern Africa.

What is the biggest change you wish to see in the world?

I grew up where it is custom to follow what your parents wish you to become. Many African parents would want to see their sons and daughters become engineers, lawyers, doctors or accountants and so on. At times parents force children into doing certain subjects or degrees in school, and dictate the career choices for them, which often do not suit them. To be a child in these circumstances means you have to work in line with your parents’ expectations. Sometimes the child conforms and does what their parents dictate. What happens is that the wishes and abilities of the child are brushed aside. In my case I ended up in a financial institution when I would have been far happier following my passion for food. I would like to see a change in the mindset of African parents so that they appreciate the various talents their children may have and realise that it is not only academic study that guarantees success.

What values are most important to you?

Honesty and integrity

Who is your favourite teacher?

I have two favourite teachers – Jeffrey Mason and Abris Molnar. They both played a very important part in me becoming the best I can be. They both respected and valued me, they made learning adventurous and they pushed us to do our very best.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned on your course?

The most interesting thing I have learned is about the exceptional plating of food and being creative with how food looks on a plate. I am using that in my daily life to impress my friends and loved ones!

What would you say is making you feel positive at the moment?

I find joy in simple things and I refuse to be discouraged by people or circumstances.

How did New City College help you achieve?

I have achieved because I have been taught how to be creative with food. I have also learned all about health and food safety, culinary expertise, ingredient selection, knife skills and how attention to detail makes so much difference.

What’s the best advice you have received?

The best advice I have been given is ‘No one owes you anything’. This advice made me avoid the entitlement trap and I became responsible for my own life.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?

Run my own restaurant, be a Michelin-starred chef and self-publish a cookery book

What is the best thing about New City College?

The college has well-mannered, polite staff and a safe environment. Teachers create a personalised learning journey to get you to where you want to be.

What are your plans for next steps?

I am progressing to the Level 3 Professional Cooking course.