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Urban Forage, Volcanic Wines in Auckland, Hospo Winners

Reflections on Food and Wine

Our fifth W&F Celebration Weekend whizzed past at high speed and for me, I have been left behind with a series of memories to cherish. In particular, we are very grateful to Riki Bennett and Rewi Spraggon who shared with us their workshop on Mahinga Kai – understanding native plants and trees, their cultivation and gathering (foraging) for eating as well as medicinal purposes.

We headed to Auckland Domain and walked down through some of the lower tracks to find Kawakawa, the pepper tree. This can be brewed as a tea but also as an important antiseptic. We found nīkau palms whose young shoots can be eaten without killing the whole palm. They have a slight coconut fibrous texture that cooks well. Riki, who works as a park ranger, told us that most puha is Sowthistle, introduced from England, while the native puha (Sonchus kirkii) you can find on the coast. If you rub the leaves together it's possible to remove some of the bitterness. The puha is then boiled and eaten as a green vegetable. Riki explained that ponga or the silver fern was not eaten for food but used to line pits for storing food as rats cannot eat through the trunks.

Riki and Rewi demonstrated how to whistle using the leaf of the karamū (Coprosma) another native shrub with berries that attract native birds. They then showed us how to light a fire using the fire wood, tōtara. And so much more... Back at NZSFW, Riki presented photos of many of the different plants and trees and their uses leaving us with a whole new vocabulary of Māori terms. The luncheon that followed was a collaboration of Rewi’s hāngī baked pork belly, potatoes, kumara and my foraging in local markets and shops! Follow this linkto see more.


Celia with Riki Bennett and Rewi Spraggon.


Riki holding puha during the forage walk.


Muttonbird with Kaiaroha cashew cheese, micro watercress.

Auckland Wine of Origin Tasting

Another highlight has been to look at Auckland’s wines in a new way. On the final day of our W&F Celebration, we organised an Auckland Wine of Origin Tasting for the New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals and this provided a unique opportunity to gain a better understanding of the wines and terroirs of this region with Bob Campbell MW and Michael Brajkovich MWoffering their expert overview. This was also an opportunity to gain insights into the discipline of wine show judging from two of New Zealand’s leading Masters of Wine.
One of the most intriguing aspects of tasting a series of wines from around the greater Auckland region is to contemplate the influence of Auckland’s unique volcanic geology.


Villa Maria's Ihumatao (volcanic tuff) vineyard.

Auckland's Volcanic Field consists of at least 48 volcanoes with the Waitemata and Manukau harbours considered ancient rivers, surrounded by dry land, that overtime have been submerged by the sea. Waiheke Island, now important as a wine-growing region, remained above sea level. Internationally there has been a surge of interest in wines from volcanic regions: Mount Etna on Sicily, Spain’s Canary Islands, The Azores (Portugal) and specifically the island of Pico, Dundee Hills in Oregon, Mount Vesuvius with the Italian wine region of Taurasi and even the slopes of Mount Fuji in Japan. Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate the influence of Auckland’s volcanic heritage?. Follow this link to read more.

New Zealand Sommelier of the Year 2018

Marek Przyborek of Huami Restaurant at Sky City won 2018 New Zealand Sommelier of the Year announced by Head Judge Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas at the Awards Dinner on Sunday 19 August.  In a close-run competition, Andrea Martinisi from The Grove and Baduzzi restaurants in Auckland and Maciej Zimny from Noble Rot Wine Bar in Wellington were close behind. Along with winning a bottle of Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal, Marek will travel to Kyoto in October to represent New Zealand at the ASI Asia-Oceania Competition in October. As New Zealand can send two competitors, Andrea Martinisi will accompany him. Their airfares have been sponsored by a grant from the Hospitality Training Trust. Maciej Zimny, winner of the 2015 competition, will represent New Zealand in China at the One Belt One Road Champion Sommelier Summit in Ningxia, China in September.

Bethany Jeffries of Bistronomy Restaurant, Napier won New Zealand Junior Sommelier of the Year with runner-up Nikki Weir from The French Café. Bethany wins a trip to Misha's Vineyard and the Central Otago wine region. 2018 Guest judge was Jonathan Ross MS from the Rockpool Group in Melbourne and Sydney.


2018 New Zealand Sommelier of the Year Marek Przyborek

Junior Sommelier of the Year Bethany Jeffries with Misha Wilkinson, sponsor of this award.


Marek Przyborek with Andy Reid from Eurovintage.

Foodography 2018

Click here to view more images from the Foodography dinner.

Images from The Wine Room


Cameron McPhee from Giesen Wines.


Lynette Hudson's Natural wines Masterclass.


Katharine Maude from Peter Maude Fine Wines.


Oliver Hay and Lulu Chen - NZSFW's Wine retail team.

NZSFW Competes in Nestle Toque d'Or 2018

NZSFW competed for the first time in the Nestle Toque d'Or competition, where New Zealand's culinary training institutions vie for supremacy in a live cook-off. The Toque d'Or takes place all over the world, however New Zealand is unique as the format consists of two chefs alongside a front of house competitor. Teams must preparing and serve three courses to six guests within a specified timeframe. Guest judge Swiss chef Anton Mossiman OBE, was the winner of the first ever Nestle Toque d'Or in 1973. The menu presented to the judges was an entree Duo of Akaroa Salmon with coconut, pickled carrots. The main of Sirloin of beef, braised ox cheek, kumara, beets and jus was followed by a gluten-free dessert of Chocolate Fudge Tart with shortcrust chickpea pastry, rhubarb compote and sorbet. The wine pairings were Pyramid ValleyPinot Blanc 2016 and Peacock Sky Cabernet Sauvignon 2015.
And we won GOLD for our service with Manet Mann on the floor and silverfor the cookery with Sam Phipps and Eden Frank on the stoves. This was an impressive achievement from the students and Hospitality Tutor Franck Laruelle and chef-tutor David Schofield. We are delighted!


Hospitality Management student Manet Mann talks to her guests at the Toque d'Or.


Level 4 Cookery students Sam Phipps and Eden Frank at Toque d'Or.


Toque d'Or dessert of Chocolate Fudge Tart, local walnuts with rhubarb sorbet and compote.

Coming Up

WSET Wine Courses

Our next Tuesday evening Introduction to Wine will start on 2 October. Over 7 weeks this course covers New Zealand wine in detail, and includes WSET Awards in Wines Level 1. WSET Award in Wine & Spirits starts on Saturday 22 September or Monday 24 September.

Cookery Short Courses

Handmade Pasta will teach you the simplicity of making your own fresh pasta over one evening - next class 12 September. Make a range of tempting delights at our Chocolate Workshop on 3 November. Our ever-popular Artisan Bread has again filled up for October so we are running again on November 17. Finally, if you are looking to improve your general prowess in the kitchen, take our two-night Essential Skills class to gain knife skills and other techniques starts on Wednesday 3 October.

Certificate in Barista, Bartending, Wine & Spirits - Level 4

The October 15 programme is a great opportunity to gain a wide range of skills to work in a range of roles, from restaurants to cafes to hotels and superyachts. Valid for Student Loans or Free Fees for eligible students. Click here for further details.

Certificate in Cookery Foundation - Starts 9 October

Only a few places remain in our Certificate in Cookery October intake. This popular course provides a range of cookery skills and includes work experience in a leading Auckland restaurant or cafe. Certificate in Cookery Foundation.

New Zealand Diploma in Cookery, Level 5

FINALLY, our Diploma in Cookery Level 5. is now approved by NZQA for 2019 with a start date of 25 February. This 36 week course continues on from our Certificate in Cookery, Advanced and focuses on advanced techniques and understanding the food science behind the transformation of the cooking process.


With best wishes,

Celia Hay

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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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