Explore our own backyard with a farm-to-fork master class like no other!
With the global pandemic putting a halt on our usual international holidays, exploring what’s on offer closer to home never sounded so appealing.
Auckland Scene has found a fun and educational farm-to-fork experience for food lovers, gardeners and those who simply want to discover something new, less than 40 minutes from Auckland.
The Good From Scratch Cookery School on a lifestyle property in coastal Muriwai is offering visitors master cooking classes with one of New Zealand’s most renowned and respected chefs – Michael and Bee Van de Elzen.
The couple opened the Good From Scratch Cookery School with the philosophy that food is best when it’s prepared from scratch.
The Van de Elzen’s cookery school offers a fun-filled day or half-day class option, that involves gathering the various ingredients from their small farm and learning about that produce’s importance to the day’s menu.
The preparation and cooking of the dishes is a hands-on experience for all and ends with everyone eating the meal they made, washed down with a selection of local wines, craft beers and homemade sodas!
“The farm is a labour of love and we want to share this unique piece of paradise with our Kiwi whanau,” says Michael, who has starred in a number of Kiwi television shows, including more recently Eat Well For Less New Zealand on TVNZ 1.
“Bee and I love welcoming people from all walks of life to enjoy what our cookery school has to offer. It’s a unique experience and our ultimate aim is for people to walk away smiling, satisfied in the knowledge they’ve learnt and with the food they’ve created but most importantly, nourished in the understanding that ‘good from scratch’ is essential for a healthy life.
“Bee shares my passion of preparing food from scratch and has supported me immensely on my journey to educate New Zealanders, especially children, about healthy eating and showing people how easy and cheap it is to cook a healthy meal. The Good From Scratch Cookery School helps us to further to deliver that message.”
The school is a ‘dream come true’ for the chefs, with it being in the planning for over 20 years. Along the way, the ambitious couple have run many successful restaurants including award-winning Molten, Food Truck Garage and Boy and Bird. Michael is also the author of five cookbooks and works with a number of companies under his Good From Scratch brand.
“The initial thought was conceived when Bee and I were working in a small luxury hotel in an Irish village called Dundrody. What made this award-winning hotel such a success was that the majority of the produce cooked for its guests came from its own gardens. Both Bee and I knew then that this was what we wanted to create in New Zealand.”
The first step to turn their dream into reality, was the Van de Elzen’s purchase of a small farm in the beautiful Muriwai Valley in 2015. They fell in love with the land so much they put an offer in without even looking at the house.
Set on 15 acres of land, Michael and Belinda have developed the farm to now include an orchard, greenhouse and kitchen gardens, where their focus is to share in the simplicity of creating flavoursome dishes from scratch, including gathering and picking seasonal produce, right at the doorstep of the cookery school.
The farm also houses chickens, honeybees, cattle and pigs all of which are reared on the property producing honey, eggs and meat for use in the classes.
The orchard and gardens have an abundance of heirloom variety specimens such as Early Strawberry and Peasgoodnonsuch apples, Billingtons plums, Monavale almonds and Warkworth apricots, to name just a few. The Good from Scratch classes will tap into all that the farm offers as well as local in-season ingredients from neighbouring farms.
The Good For Scratch Cookery School also offers bespoke cookery events, including a recent Pig. Smoke. Fireday classwhere home cooks learnt about butchery, small goods, smoking and cooking over flames. Pig. Smoke. Fire was led by talented butcher Francesco Visco alongside Michael. In the school holidays, look out for their classes for little chefs.
For more information and to book a unique farm-to-fork experience visit goodfromscratch.co.nz