Come join Girls on the Road’s small group #meetthechef Auckland weekend which includes a full day cooking class with the amazing chef Michael Van de Elzen – whether you’re a home cook or a master chef, this class is an amazing food experience. This weekend is all about food, starting on Friday night where we dine out at one of Federal Street’s finest restaurants – Gusto at the Grand. After our amazing day out with Michael we dine at Sky City’s Orbit restaurant. On Sunday, of course, we haven’t eaten enough so we’re heading to Takapuna to enjoy brunch at a cafe located on the water’s edge.
Friday 11th February: Check into Sky City Hotel on Friday late afternoon / early evening before heading to Gusto at the Grand and enjoy a sumptuous Italian feast served with beautifully matched wines.
Saturday 12th February: After an early breakfast at Sky City Hotel, we head out to enjoy a day under Michael’s tutorage at his “Good from Scratch” cookery school based at Muriwai on Auckland’s beautiful, rugged and wild west coast. Today we take in all aspects of the farm, gardens and kitchen, taking your time to enjoy the sights and sounds of our rural location. On arrival we are greeted with a moreish slice or cake, accompanied by a hot drink to enjoy while gathered around the school’s vast macrocarpa table. Housekeeping is explained and Michael introduces the day’s menu. Find your spot at the main table and pop on your Girls on the Road apron, then some will start kneading the ingredients for the wholemeal bread. This is placed into individual pans and set either by the fire or in a sunny spot, then allowed to ferment. It will be baked in the wood-fired pizza oven later in the day.
Heading outdoors, we take in all that the farm has to offer, including the huge kitchen gardens and a citrus orchard. Meet the chooks, sheep, cows and hopefully some native birds too. Gardener, Adrianne will then take the us through a full cycle of our gardens, collecting vegetables for the day’s menu which can include fruit from the orchard, vegetables from the gardens, herbs, edible flowers and even freshly laid eggs from the chickens.
Then it’s time for the real work as we are split into groups, allowing each group to prepare different components of the day’s menu (much like a professional kitchen). This is very fluid, and movement around the room is encouraged. During the cooking portion of the day, Michael will be guiding us through the recipes and demonstrating handy tips and tricks – these could include butchery, baking and technical tips.
Stop to enjoy a break and a taste of freshly baked bread, along with some cheeses and relishes.
Time to plate! The prepared meals will be plated and served down the centre of the main table and we take our time and enjoy the fruits of our labour. Of course accompanied by a selection of soda, local wines, cider or craft beers. Here we sit back and enjoy each other’s company and the beautiful views down Taiapa Valley. There is time to relax and look through the market shelves filled with local artisan produce, where you have the opportunity to buy some “Good from Scratch” pickles, jams, relishes, cookbooks, smoked small goods and even honey from the farm. Then we are picked up around 4.00pm and returned to our hotel.
Before your dinner and choice of cocktail at Orbit restaurant tonight, there is time to change or maybe you may want to have a (small) flutter on the pokies! Tonight we enjoy a beautiful 3 course dinner with wines as we watch the revolving view of Auckland’s skyline, maybe the sunset will be spectacular tonight.
Sunday 13th February: After checking out, we head off to Takapuna to enjoy a beautiful leisurely brunch on the water’s edge at Takapuna. After brunch we return you back to Sky City Hotel or transfer those flying home, there is an airport drop off.