What defines the art of food for you? Is it the taste? or, is it the atmosphere that it creates when it is shared among people? How is this a part of your home cake artistry business?
Today, I a deviate from my usual post on cake art, to embrace the bigger picture. Food.

My website and niche about cake decorating, is only but a small piece of the greater ‘food world’ puzzle. Cake Artistry is an art. Art is a creative aspect, which brings food to life.

How do you learn this art? through a culinary school, of course. I have spoken about the online cake decorating courses but today, I would like to focus on something closer to home for me.

My blog today will present my review of the school that helped me gain my Food Safety Certificate, the New Zealand School of Food & Wine.

So you ask, what has this got to do with Art Thou Cakes again?

The New Zealand School of Food & Wine is a popular culinary school. It provides long and short term training courses, that are affordable and thorough, in all areas of food preparations, including: the sale of alcohol, and building your food business.

Creating cake decorations from home is one thing, but it is another to know how to build your home business using the correct knowledge. Oh, and by the way, did you know that wine and/in cake is amazing?!

I hope that my post today will help many of you (especially those who live in New Zealand), see what a wonderful source of learning, we have, at our very doorstep.

My Relationship With NZ School of Food & Wine

My relationship with this school, began in 2018, when I searched online for a short yet, affordable Food Safety Certificate.

I was working full-time during this time and had very limited time or available options, the other issue I had, was that, I lived in North Shore.

NZ School of Food & Wine, had a half day course and it was available during one of my, days off work.

When I created my Art Thou Cakes website. I wanted to direct readers to the importance of gaining a Food Safety Certificate, when considering a home cake decorating business.

Therefore, I placed the school’s links in my very first content post to help others, and continued with my cake decorating blogs.

Until I checked my site emails and found a strange email in one of them.

The Email

The Marketing Manager, had sent me an email to tell me that their Google analytics had a bump of visitors and upon further investigation, found my little website. They wanted to meet me.

Okay, at the time, when I read the email, I shook not with anticipation, but with fear. My first thoughts were, “You have really got yourself in trouble this time, woman.”

I actually thought that I was going to be sued by the NZ School of Food & Wine, for adding their links in to my post, without their permission.

I quickly replied to their email with an apology and stated that I will remove their links as soon as possible.

The Special Invite

It was a good thing, that I wasn’t proactive with my thoughts to terminate the school’s links. The Marketing manager, responded to my reply and said, that they wanted to thank me personally, with an invitation to a special lunch that was presented by their students as part of their assessment.

Special lunch invitation from NZ School of Food and Wine

My mood of self punishing thoughts quickly changed to one of pure excitement. WOW! my little website, was recognised for something that was, totally unexpected. I became so excited that I had to share this wonderful news with all my friends.


The Welcome

I have never been invited to a special luncheon before, and certainly not as a VIP. Although, I had been at the NZ School of Food & Wine, before, it was different this time to be welcomed as a guest of honour.

Upon entering, I was warmly welcomed by the attendants, my name was verified and guided to the waiting area. There were a few other guests. Some were from other tertiary schools and High schools. I felt like the sponge cake among the glamorous cakes. I was the only one that did not belong to an educational institution.

The Marketing Manager, Hayley Newton and Celia Hay, the owner/Director/Principal of the school, Celia Hay, welcomed myself and the other guests personally and took us for guided tours of the school’s premises/faculties.

Each guest were given name tags and seating was arranged accordingly. I was seated with Hayley and she was able to provide me with detailed information about the school, as we hungrily devoured our deliciously prepared three course meal.

Art Thou Cakes-NZ School of Food and Wine Waiting Area

Food & Wine Luncheon

I don’t want to sound cliche or biased, but the lunch was absolutely, gorgeous and the attendants/servers were well trained.

Okay, back to the food. I am a Pacific Islander, and despite not going to many, high end restaurants in my life, I do have one thing that gives me the right, to write, this personal review. I love food, and with the addition of a few French wines to match what I eat, then you can expect a ‘big tick’ from me.

From the menu, I chose the following for my three courses:

Entree – Tuna Crudo With Plum Sorbet & Chili Salsa

New Zealand School of Food and Wine - Kingfish crudo with plum and chili salsa

This dish, was a delightful mix of flavours; the cool tartness of the plum sorbet, flirting with the heat of chili salsa. The flavours, matched well, with the Henri Bourgeois Sancerre 2017, white wine.

Mains – Pigeon Bay Organic Lamb, Kumara Anna, Sauce Robert, and Autumn Greens

Beautiful dish, the star was the lamb. It was tender and perfectly cooked with a touch of all the ingredients listed, leaving a colorful after-taste of climatic explosions, enhanced with the taste of Chateau Carbonneau 2016, red wine. I later, learned that, the lamb was certified organic and hand-picked from Celia Hay’s family owned farm, Inveralloch in Pigeon Bay, Banks Peninsula (something that is unique to the school).

Dessert – Passion fruit tart with vanilla ice cream (home-made) – with dark coffee

New Zealand School of Food and Wine - Passion fruit tart with vanilla ice cream

Not sure, how to word this the right way, except for, maybe a: ‘may I die now and go to heaven’ – expression; one which, I rarely give anything in life, except…

…yeah nah (a Kiwi 80/90s phrase), too personal to share here.

Hayley gave me a taste of her mains dish, which was the Roast Red Capsicum Soup With Salsa Verde Grissini. It was just as delicious as mine.

Art Thou Cakes - World Class Culinary School Review 2019

Each plate served had a unique touch, that left a zing in my taste buds, wanting more, yet fully satisfied. Even that for a Tongan to say, is special.

The luncheon finale, was getting to hear Celia Hay’s impressive history and about her visions for furthering the excellent education for her students.

Art Thou Cakes-NZ School of Food and Wine - World Class Culinary School Review 2019

I would like to say, thank you to: Celia Hay, Hayley Newton, the chef of the day, Will Geddes and to all, the participating students at the New Zealand School of Food and Wine, for a lovely and heart-felt luncheon.

For my readers, I am now, going to give you a review of this amazing school.

For many of you, this can be an opportunity for those of you, who, may want to learn how to create amazing food, like I just described, or, want to run a food business or, are interested in gaining a basic Food Safety Certificate.

No matter, what reason it may be, you might be a little surprised and impressed, by what I have to say. Therefore, I suggest that you read on.

Company Review

Name: New Zealand School of Food & Wine

Owner/Founder: Celia Hay


Level 3, 104 Customs Street West,


Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Art Thou Cakes - World Class Culinary School 2019 -NZ School of Food and Wine


New Zealand School of Food & Wine is accredited with the NZQA (new Zealand Qualifications Authority)

Field of Study:

Culinary, wine & hospitality education

Duration of Courses:

Part-time and Full-time

Course Fees:

Very Affordable. There is Provision for Student loan or/and Student allowances to those who are eligible

NZQA Category Rating:

One (the top-level in its specialised area of education)

My Rating:


Why, NZ School of Food & Wine is a World Class Culinary School


The school is strategically located and within walking distance to many of the Auckland City attractions. Students can catch the bus or train from anywhere in Auckland to Britomart, and walk time is between two-five minutes, to the premises.

There are also, all day paid parking nearby (straight across from the school location), for a fixed rate of $32.


Enrollment is open to anyone in the world. Although, it is located in New Zealand, I had met a few students when I attended the Food Safety Certificate Course, who actually came all the way from the US to study in NZ, because they loved, what they saw in the New Zealand School of Food & Wine’s website. This chance meeting, left a lasting impression on me about the school. Hence, why I am a great advocate.


The school caters (pun not intended), for both part-time and full-time learners. Each option comprised of:

Short Courses:

  • Cooking
  • Wine
  • Barista & CocktailCompliance (Alcohol, Food health & Safety, and Setting Up a Food Business)
  • Secondary School Courses (Scholarships offered to study at the NZSFW)
  • Team Events (this is team based events that offer experience in a professional/realistic setting)


Art Thou Cakes - World Class Culinary School Review 2019

Full-time Courses, that specialise in:

  • Professional Cookery (the most popular being, the certificate in Cookery Advanced)
  • Hospitality
  • Wine

Students can enroll in a basic course ( and grow their learning experience into a full-time (18-36 weeks) course.
The School, also offer, the Chefs Recognition of Prior Learning Level 3 courses. These courses cater (again, no pun intended), and in popular demand for those students who are already working as chefs (internationally and locally) and wish to gain formal accreditation. The New Zealand School of Food & Wine enables this, by offering a focused five-day level 3 New Zealand Cookery Certificate course, which can also be used as abridge course towards level 4.



New Zealnd School of Food and Wine was founded by Celia Hay, in Christchurch, in 1995. However, due to the Christchurch earthquakes, it was later moved and re-established in Auckland City, in 2012, walking distance to the Viaduct and other popular city venues.


The Founder – Celia Hay

Art Thou Cakes-World Class Culinary School Review 2019- NZ School of Food and Wine Founder- Celia Hay
My first impression of Celia Hay, is her passion for education and food. I saw her personal touches at the school that show cased her history and love for organic and quality food. As she lead us on the class room tours, you can see the immense pride and joy she had, when she spoke of her students’ success stories; a motherly pride.

I did a little research and found out, just what an amazing woman, Celia really is. A trail blazer, in her field, an outstanding leader, an Entrepenuer and an Educator with marked authority.

Celia is a highly qualified chef. She holds the WSET (London) Diploma of Wine as well as: a Bachelor of Arts degree in history (her love for history evident in the many family images on the school’s wall); a Master of Education (with distinction); and, a MBA – Master of Business Adminsitration, from the University of Canterbury.

She further went on to gain the French Wine Scholar credential, certified by the Society of Wine Educators.

Here are her many achievements and community contributions:

  • Establishment of Hays Restaurant in 1994
  • Establishment of the School of Food & Wine in Christchurch, 1995
  • Under her guidance, Hays Restaurant was awarded the presitigious, Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, from 2005-2009
  • Established the Duvauchelle Store and Café located in Akaroa Harbour
  • Established Celia’s Pies, specialising in healthy pies featuring, the family’s signature organic Pigeon Bay lamb and lower fat pastry.
  • Wrote and published, How to Grow Your Hospitality Business ,third edition, 2017
  • Published the New Zealand Guide to Wine, in 2014 – which was awarded Gourmet World Book Awards, and now used as the text book, for NZQA unti standards in wine.
  • Founding Chair and President of, NZ Sommeliers and Wine Professionals Association
  • A member of Food writers NZ
  • A board member of Auckland City’s Business Association – that includes other Auckland City government strategy groups
  • A column in New Zealand Herald, portraying a selection of recipes

Alongside these great attainments, her greatest feat, in my opinion, is that she, is also a mother of three children.


The Tutors

Celia Hays is not only, the Founder, she is also tutors, and why not? With all her expertise, and professional background, students will get one of the best educators, that they could ever experience for a fraction of the price, that one has to pay for someone of her caliber.

As well as Celia herself, students get to enjoy highly skilled chefs and Cooking tutors, who also, have their own stories and accredited backgrounds. Here is a list of well-known global and international names:

  • Will Geddes (whom I have already mentioned)
  • Frank Laruelle
  • Micaheal Chen
  • Grant Pickup
  • Ralf Schmidt
  • Connal Finlay
  • Lynette Hudson
  • Clint Davies
  • Stefan Loetscher
  • Joelle Thomson


Student Testimonials

A review will not be complete without a section to portray client testimonials. I spoke to several students after the luncheon and found out from them, what they each thought of New Zealand School of Wine. One in particular:

Brian Patterson, is 19 years of age and is Fijian. He is currently studying to be a Barrister. I asked him, why he preferred NZ School of Food & Wine to other New Zealand tertiary institutions that offered the same course. His reply, he had done some research to compare his options before he enrolled, and found that New School of Food & Wine, had smaller classes and that the courses offered more practical/hands on learning. He clarified his point by saying, that AUT or MIT not only took longer, and the ratio of learning was more theory based versus practical.

Unfortunately due to time constraints, I couldn’t name the other students who also joined in our conversation, who each echoed the same views as Brian’s.

The students all agreed that they gained overall satisfaction, and many were going to re-enroll to further develop their food/alcohol skills.


NZ School of Food and Wine- Alumni
When you read the success stories of the past students, you gain a better perspective of what the New Zealand School of Food & Wine are all about. The students come first in their learning and their potential to arrive at their dreams in the competitive world of food.


Why I ranked the NZ School of Food & Wine as 5/5

When giving a review, every blogger understands the immense influence, that they, can have on a company’s product or service. I take this seriously and will only provide honest and unbiased opinions, of a company if I deem that they are not out to scam or provide misleading information.

I just want to clarify, that this review has no monetary benefit to me or my website. There I said it.

However, don’t forget that I had enrolled in their Food Health & Safety Cetrificate Course. I am very happy that I chose the New Zealand School of Food & Wine. The tutor knew his topic well, the teaching was presented in bite sized formats and the assessment was all open book (which I appreciated). Once the open-booked test was finished, we were allowed to leave, with our printed certificates.

I have found the New Zealand School of Food & Wine, to be owned and run by honest and caring people, who are experts in their field and who know what they teach. This is one of the main reasons why I endorse their school.

The only thing that I would see, to be deemed by some, as a con against all the pros of the school, would be the paid parking. I personally do not deem it so, because this is something that is a world-wide issue, and it will not dilute the many positive aspects provided by the school itself.

Therefore, these are the reasons for why, I have given a personal ranking of 5/5 in my review of the New Zealand School of Food & Wine.

** Please note that all images and information are all copyright to New Zealand School of Food & Wine, and have been permitted only for the purpose of this post.


If you are looking for a culinary school to help you towards building a food business or to gain the skills required to work in the Food industry, then I suggest that you visit the New Zealand School of Food & Wine on their open days.

Get the feel of the school for yourself and meet Celia Hay, her staff and the students. You will be impressed as I was, as you step through their door.

There is no doubt in my mind that, the New Zealand School of Food & Wine, is in its own league and is a world-class culinary school.

I hope that you find this review useful and opens the door to greater learning opportunities. If you have questions about this post or want further information to what I have written, then please leave a comment below.

See you soon,

Cake Artistry Featured Image

12 thoughts on “World Class Culinary School 2020 Review – Learn From The Best

  1. Wow, Congratulations Saane you were the Distinct Honoree at this prestigious culinary school!
    Amazing Honor for you. The menu was gorgeous and made my mouth water, and that Passion fruit desert was to die for!

    This was a wonderful share, and the fact that the prestigious NZ School of Food and Wine invited you based on your website, culinary, and writing skills proves this website has some wheels!
    It will go far!


    1. Hi Kaju,

      thank you for visiting my site and leaving such a lovely comment. Your compliment about my being a District Honoree is sweet. Yes, the food was gorgeous, actually it still makes my mouth water thinking about that passion fruit desert, now that you mentioned it haha. Have a great day and hope to have you visit my blogs again.

  2. I full of goosebumps all over me as I read this. Wow, that was great. Congratulations dear. As I read, I feel the passion and love you have toward your work and how much you love doing it. 

    Those meal looks so delicious. This is a great review for this school. School like this are needed in Africa where I came from. Truly speaking, we don’t have school with such atmosphere back in Africa that students want to write a review for people to attend. There are, then they are very few

  3. Wow, The New Zealand School of Food and Wine sounds amazing. I like that they are affordable and that students have access to financial aid if they need it. I also like that the school provides tutors for students as well. The food that they prepare looks both delicious and beautiful. Almost too pretty to eat, but then you’re so hungry you want to! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. What a detailed, informative and very insightful post on the best culinary school review in 2019. I’m wowed especially by the rating of the NZ School of Food & Wine. Having a honest reviewer give a reviewed product, program or anything 5star rating is very rare which has convinced me that the New Zealand school is definitely the best anyone could get around. Having alumni testify about the greatness of the school is also a plus. I wouldn’t mind enrolling my chef sister to the school. Thanks

  5. The NZ School of Food & Wine looks like an incredible school to attend with truly genuine people involved in the school from teachers to managers. Affordability, a great, central location and quality courses combine to make this school an incredible hub of knowledge which attracts students all over the world. Anyone who has the opportunity to study here would not only have a great time, but have so much more knowledge to put to good use. Thank you for sharing your review.

    1. Hi Josie, thank you for leaving a comment. Yes, the NZ School of Food & Wine, is everything that any prospective student would want, in an education institution, to learn and develop their skills in the Food industry.

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