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Newsletter: Dec 2020

Our big news - 25 years!

Flashback to February, 1995, and I had just opened the New Zealand School of Food & Wine above Hay's Restaurant in Victoria Street, Christchurch. My son Oliver, not yet 6 months old, I carried around in a back-pack. We started the Foundation Cookery Certificate with three students and that is how it all began. 

Twenty-five years later, and an earthquake-inspired move to Auckland, it's with an enormous sense of satisfaction and pride that I look back over all these years. All the people who have studied with us, the dynamic tutors and vital administration and marketing staff who have all contributed to the success of the New Zealand School of Food and Wine.   

And yes, there have been lots of challenges - curve balls - to manoeuvre, catch and dodge but this is just to be expected in any business.

Looking back, the foundation of the school was very timely and our story reflects and parallels the transformation of New Zealand's hospitality, wine and tourism sectors. The 1989 Sale of Liquor Act freed up who could hold an liquor license and in turn, there was an explosion of new restaurants, cafés, bars - all able to sell alcohol. At the same time, the growth in vineyard plantings around New Zealand gave these local restaurants and cafés a host of brand-new New Zealand wines to offer on their wine lists. Chefs and restaurant managers, returning from work overseas, inspired a more sophisticated, diverse and often Asian-influenced  offerings on menus. The quality coffee revolution had also begun. When we first started making espresso in Christchurch, we ground the hopper of coffee at 7am and this would last for hours, compared to today, when coffee is ground à la minute. No one ever taught us about cleaning the insides of a espresso machine...

It's so exciting to see how our hospitality and tourism would has evolved and grown with confidence and I am very pleased to have contributed to this through our courses and training. 

And 25 years later, we remain a family-owned business. My three children have equally benefited from a hospo education with Oliver, an engineer who has just spent six months as crew chef on a superyacht, Daniel, also an engineer, who supplements his income in Edinburgh as a barista and Alice, over the summer holiday break from school, has been part of the NZ Certificate in Cookery Level 3.

We hope you can join us over the weekend of March 14/15. See programme below. 

With best wishes for 2020,

A 3-day hike along the Dart River in Mount Aspiring National Park, with my daughter Alice, has been a refreshing highlight to start off the year. View my photo blog here.

Dart River, Mount Aspiring National Park

25 Years of the New Zealand School of Food and Wine

With over 20,000 students through our doors, it's exciting to acknowledge the achievements of our diverse former students. From Canada Loucks, now Sous Chef at Euro to Lou Bentley who recently celebrated 10 years of the Akaroa Cooking School to Simon Kelly and his Kelly Washington Wines and Roots Dry Gin and Ettore Donadeo who is now a leading WSET wine educator in Japan to Nici Wickes, Food Editor at New Zealand Women's Weekly to Jonathan Thorne, Head Chef at the Merivale Group's Coogee Pavilion in Sydney .

To celebrate, we have invited a number of our alumni to share their cuisine and story behind what they cook and the wines that they love at the 25th Anniversary of the New Zealand School of Food and Wine at our premises in the Viaduct.

Cooking Demonstrations & Wine Tastings - Saturday 14 March

From 9:30 am, you will be able to reconnect with the long-serving tutor, Philippe Meyer, who shares his secrets on pork rillettes and crunchy bread. Michelle Bevan of Mint Cakery will prepare a Sticky date pudding with salted caramel sauce and candied pecans. Spencer Matagi, Chef de Partie at Soul Bar will share his favourite Palusami - Taro leaves, steamed with coconut cream along with Samoan lamb chop suey.

In the afternoon, Ginny Grant, from Cuisine Magazine will be followed by our new chef tutor, Ana Seini Mailei, who recently returned from seven years in Europe - mostly in Italy, who will share a Pasifika inspired vegan menu.

Leading wine writer, Joelle Thomson will lead-off with a wine tasting of an intriguing line-up New Zealand Pinot NoirConnal Findlay, wine merchant in  will follow with a Fortified Revival including Tio Pepe En Rama Fino Sherry, Barbeito Boal Med-Sweet Madeira, Campbells Rutherglen Muscat and Williams & Humbert Don Zolio 12 year PX.

Joy Bates, recently returned from UK and completing the WSET Diploma with distinction will lead a New Zealand PET NAT and Grower Champagne comparative tasting.

25th Anniversary Dinner from 7:00 pm

We hope you will stay on for our gastronomic feast prepared by Chef Finn and the Advanced and Diploma students. It will naturally feature our lamb from Pigeon Bay. Click below to see the menu.


A unique opportunity to learn about Mahinga Kai and New Zealand flora from special guest Matua Riki Bennett. 

It’s going to be fun to meet again, share old stories and new stories, re-connect and make new foodie friends while enjoying a weekend of food and wine.

Our Anniversary events are open to the public and we are offering discounted prices for NZSFW Alumni and friends. 


Certificate in New Zealand Wine NZQA micro-credential


NZQA have now approved the Certificate in New Zealand Wine as a micro-credential, which will certify people on their New Zealand wine knowledge. 

There are two levels:

Certificate in New Zealand Wine is a 4 session or 2 day programme that starts with key grape varieties and explores the significance of geography, climate, environment, winemaking techniques and the vision of leading winemakers to establish New Zealand’s reputation for fine wines. 

Certificate in New Zealand Wine (Advanced) follows on from the introductory programme and explores in greater detail, through a series of comparative tastings, the depth and diversity of New Zealand’s artisan, organic red and white wines along with sweet and sparkling styles of wine as well as wine and food pairing. 

We plan to offer this around New Zealand to restaurants, wineries as well as enthusiastic winelovers.


The revised 2nd edition of the New Zealand Wine Guide includes updated regional maps and commentary about the key regions, grape varieties, flow diagrams to explain wine-making methods all illustrated with Kevin Judd'sspectacular photos. 

The book will be released on April 1, 2020 at launch at NZSFW.


Essentials of Cooking Fine Food at Home

Transform your cooking skills in our professional kitchen, learning classic techniques over two-weekend sessions. Find out about classic stocks, sauces and emulsions and cookery techniques such as sautéing, roasting, braising, steaming and grilling.

Part One - Sat 4 & Sun 5 April from 9am - 3pm

Part One & Two over 2 weekends
Sat 4, Sun 5, Sat 18, Sun 19 April 
9:00 am - 3:00 pm 


Wine & WSET Courses

Learn more about the intriguing world of wine & spirits! 

Introduction to NZ Wine + WSET Level 1 - Learn the language of wine, and become comfortable with aromas, flavours, structural characteristics and more! (3 sessions).

WSET Level 2 Award in Wines - You will learn about the major wine growing regions from around the world, understand their grape varieties and styles of wine as well as interpret their labels. 
(Full time or weekend options).

WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits - In this comprehensive course, you will learn about the most important spirit categories and brands, how they are produced and can be used as beverages and transformed as cocktails. (4 sessions).

Click HERE to see more classes


Handmade Pasta

Discover the art of making fresh pasta and how simple it is to prepare with delicious sauces in this hands-on course.

Sat, 21 March
9:30 am - 3:00 pm

Cocktail & Bartending

Have fun, learning how the professionals tend bar and make cocktails over 3 evening sessions.

Mon 17, Tues 18, Wed 19 Feb
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Chocolate Essentials

Discover the diversity of chocolate in this one day workshop, where you learn techniques on how to bake, ice and decorate a chocolate gateau. 

Sat, 7 Mar
9:30 am - 3:00 pm


Recipe: Crepe Batter (Lemon & Sugar)

Crepes, or thin pancakes, make a base for many toppings and fillings. See Recipe

Recipe: Summer Berry Ice cream

Homemade ice cream is delicious and fun to make in late summer when fresh fruit is abundant. See Recipe

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Celia Hay

Celia is a qualified chef and holds the WSET (London) Diploma of Wine. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History, Master of Education (Distinction) and MBA Master of Business Administration from the University of Canterbury.

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The School

Founded by Celia Hay, the New Zealand School of Food and Wine opened its first campus in Christchurch in 1995.

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