The New Zealand School Of Food & Wine Celebrates 25 Years Of Success

Founder Celia Hay has plenty to toast to after more than two decades in business


Founder Celia Hay. Photo / Babiche Martens

Not even when her business was badly hit by the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011 did Celia Hay stop — quite literally — cooking with gas.

Now nine years later and a post-quake relocation to Auckland’s Viaduct, she is about to celebrate 25 years of the New Zealand School of Food & Wine and launch a new qualification. With more than 20,000 students through its doors, the school’s long-running success has given Celia plenty to toast to.

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“I feel enormously satisfied to have reached this milestone, and given all the curveballs of business it feels a real achievement,” says Celia.

“Over the years I’ve been able to use my knowledge and experience here and internationally to develop exciting programmes for our students. I see them leave with not only better skills but hopefully equally rich as a person. That transformational part of hospitality education is what still engages me today.”

The new qualification is an NZQA-accredited Certificate in New Zealand Wine, and adds to an extensive range across cookery, hospitality, and wine. The second edition of the New Zealand Wine Guide (Celia’s fifth published book) will launch in April.

“The course will enable people to become much better informed about our wonderful and dynamic wine world,” says Celia. “Every time they sip a glass of wine they will derive more satisfaction and appreciate the story in the glass.”

The school will celebrate more than two decades in business this weekend by inviting past students to join Celia for cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, a gala dinner and a Pet Nat Masterclass.

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Those attending include Mint Cakery’s Michelle Bevan, and Soul Bar and Bistro chef Spencer Matagi.

Events are open to the public and tickets can be bought online. 

• March 14-15. For tickets, visit  Event.foodandwine.co.nz

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New Zealand Herald

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