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Newsletter: Apr 2020

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We were lucky! 

Over the weekend of 14/15 March, we celebrated our 25th Anniversary at NZSFW and 10 days later, New Zealand ground to a halt in the Covid19 Lockdown.

And while our day to day life has dramatically changed, looking at all these photos gives me a lot of pleasure and especially to be able to share in the achievements of our current students and graduates. The highlight has to be the magnificent dinner; an inspired menu created by our gifted chef, Finn Gybel and prepared under his watchful eye by the cookery students. 

Fortuitously, the lamb arrived fresh from Pigeon Bay via Harris Meats in North Canterbury and after a number of dramas leaving us worried that it would in time. Finn's dish, where he wrapped the lamb in crepinette, to hold it together while cooking, was certainly a new technique that we had not used in the past. 

We also managed to get June Hay up from Christchurch to attend. Chaperoned by my friend Lynn Williams, June who will celebrate her 89th birthday this year, has been as active participant in the evolution of the school. As the weekend closed and the Covid19 threat became more pronounced, I was very relieved that June returned safely to Christchurch and to her retirement home.

It was a thrill to have veteran broadcaster, Carol Hirschfeld as MC for the dinner and lend her distinctive and thoughtful commentary to our story. Carol asked me who she could "interview"  during the dinner. Victoria Biddick, our first enrolled student from 1995, Oliver Hay and Joelle Thomson all shared their unique perspective on their association with the school. 

Sue Sheldon also spoke. Sue has chaired the advisory board of NZSFW over the last decade and has provided me on-going support and wisdom to rise up above so many of the big and small business challenges that form the history of any business.

There is certainly some irony in the fact that as we were celebrating these 25 years, another significant challenge was about to explode. Drawing on my earthquake experience, where we relocated our students to my second business at the Duvauchelle Store and Café, I knew that we had to find a way to keep going. 

As the Covid19 crisis escalated, I discussed with our tutors how we could teach the programmes online and with the cookery students cooking in their own kitchens at home. Again, I was fortunate that my son Oliver, computer systems engineer, and recently returned from his super yacht chef sojourn, decided that he wanted to work full-time at NZSFW. Oli then set about finding the best platform for the tutors to stream their classes live and to administer the programmes. We have used Google Classroom and the Hangouts conferencing software to do this and it's working well.

By Friday 20 March, we had amended our cookery timetables to focus on baking, pasta and dishes that were easier to prepare at home. The students then went home with a 5kg bag of flour, 2 kg sugar, 1kg butter, 12 eggs and other ingredients. We trialled the video streaming from NZSFW while we could and then following the lockdown, the tutors now continue from their homes. The logistics are much easier for Franck with his hospitality students!

For the cookery students, the model is they watch the demonstrations at home and later upload photographs of their cooking. It's not ideal, as the tutor cannot taste their food and sometimes the livestream is pixellated or cuts out but it's better that doing nothing. Plus, everyone gets to chat and socialise from the safety of their bubble. And with supermarkets open, we can continue to buy supplies. View Foundation cooking shots here. And Advanced Cooking here.

On that happy notes, I ran a virtual wine tasting last week with our students. They were asked to purchase a bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and New Zealand oaked Chardonnay to taste along with me and their families/flatmates. They needed a glass for each wine so we could taste them at the same time. I then explained a little about the New Zealand regions and the wine tasting process and we tasted and discussed the wines together. It was fun.

I would like to invite YOU to join me on Thursday 9 April at 4.30pm to do it again. There is NO cost except that you need to supply your own wine. You can just listen in as well.  

Please let me know if you are interested to join.

Stay safe and have fun,

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Our Magnificent Dinner

5 Carol as MC3

Canapes with Kumeu River Crémant 2018
Lightly smoked Hapuka with Kina & jus of Moonshell Clams on crustade of sweet malted Barley Bread, pickled onion and dill
Hans Herzog Mistral 2016
Crusted Pigeon Bay Lamb with Ragout of our lamb Chorizo, Pinot jus, blanched peas, yellow & green beans
The Crater Rim Pinot Noir 2016
Apricot Dream with Caramel & Noble Rot Infusion
Pegasus Bay Finale 2017

10 Pigeon Bay Lamb

View Story & Photos

Samoan Cuisine with Chef Spencer Matagi

Chef Spencer Matagi 2

Chef Spencer Matagi shared the classic Samoan dish Palusami and Lamb Chop suey. 

Palusami coconut cream baked in taro leaves

Palusami - steamed in foil parcels.

Chef Ana Seini Mailei's Iceberg w. tumeric cream

Chef Ana presents 

 Chef Ana Seini Mailei prepares gluten-free vegan pancakes & Iceberg, turmeric cream and seeds


Gluten Free Vegan Pancakes.

Moroccan Flavours with Ginny Grant

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Ginny Grant, from Cuisine Magazine shared Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Saffron rice and Bakoula.

Ginnys dish 

Bakoula - spiced wilted greens.

Chef Philippe Meyer prepares Pork Rillettes 

Philippe prepares Rillettes2 

Pork Rillettes, keep well and are the perfect snack on fresh focaccia with a glass of Pinot Noir.

Trio of Wine Tastings

Three wine tastings presented by former wine tutors (and past students) showcasing and contrasting intriguing wine styles.

  • Joelle Thomson - NZ Pinot Noir
  • Connal Finlay Fortified Revival
  • Joy Bates - PET NAT and Grower Champagnes

NZ Wine Guide - 2nd Edition

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Celia's revised New Zealand Wine Guide has had an eventful time trying to get to New Zealand and is now expected to land later in April. It includes updated regional maps and commentary about the key regions, grape varieties and illustrated with evocative images from winemaker, Kevin Judd. 

The book will be released on May 12, 2020.

Certificate in Food & Beverage, Barista, Wine & Spirits

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Learn the practical skills to become a barista, bartender, hospo professional. Understand the fascinating world of restaurants and cafés, learn how to taste and recommend wine and make impressive cocktails, gain skills to work on super yachts and set sail on your international adventure.

Next in-takes:
2 June, 2020 or  7 Sept, 2020

More details

Wine & WSET Courses

Tasting Pinot Noir  

Learn more about the intriguing world of wine & spirits.

Certificate in NZ Wine - This provides a comprehensive introduction to wine regions, grape varieties and wine styles that have made New Zealand wines famous around the world. 
(8 Weekday evenings or 2 Weekends) 

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. 
(8 Weekdays or 2 Weekends)

WSET Level 3 Award in Wines - The class-room based course over 4 weekends ensures you develop a detailed understanding of the principal wines regions of the world. (4 Weekends)

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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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