Waipoua Lodge Cooking School

Waipoua Lodge Cooking School

More than a set menu | personalised cooking classes

Fine Dining Cuisine

I’m definitely not the sort of person to do things totally by a recipe book and that goes for my style of teaching which I believe should be absolutely flexible and enjoyable for anyone working with me, so that they can really get the best from being in my kitchen.

So there are no pre-determined courses, content or must learn things when you come to the Waipoua Lodge Cooking School.  What you learn will be dictated by your own level of cooking skills, personal tastes and time available. 

I seriously don’t believe that anything I do is particularly complicated – it perhaps just takes a little time, effort and maybe a few practices to get right.  At the end of the day anyone with a passion for food and a desire to cook can create my dishes.  I am very happy to share all my self-taught knowledge and the recipes which I have developed.

I invite you to use the form at the bottom of this page to let me know a little bit about yourself and your cooking style, when you would like to come and most importantly what type foods you like to eat. We can then work out something just for you.

To start you thinking, on this page I have provided some ideas of what past students have enjoyed and things which I think have made a huge difference to my ability as a cook.

I look forward to welcoming you to the lodge and having some fun with me in what my husband Ian calls my ‘playroom’ !

Kind regards

Discovering your own Natural Cooking Style

How often do you pick up a recipe book, get excited by a picture and then become disillusioned by the fact that you don’t have some of the ingredients or perhaps your pantry or fridge is full of out of date gourmet items which you used once and are now out of date?

If you answered yes to the above, then we need to think about helping you to Discover Your Own Natural Cooking Style! If you have mastered some basic skills, let’s focus on identifying your own favourite tastes and developing these with other flavours and textures. The goal will be for your kitchen cupboard to be stocked with things you will use regularly and which will be your personal mainstay to create wonderful, inspiring dishes. Part of your tuition would be to brainstorm lots of different spices and herbs and inspire you to think about food combinations and menu ideas.

Essential Kitchen Equipment
Numerous brightly coloured kitchen gadgets are available in shops today and most of them are hard to clean and take far longer to use than a good set of kitchen knives!  So I am happy to share my thoughts about what I believe to be the essential kitchen equipment.

Knives – what brand & what type
Choosing good knives and learning appropriate handling skills is essential and I have my favourites when it comes to knives.

Working Smart & The Importance of Focused Preparation
“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” and you can’t present a beautiful plate of food unless you have the right ingredients and have prepared them carefully.  Learning the importance of how to keep your bench area clear and preparing all your ingredients to a point ready for the final service is a very important skill.

Owning and Using a Vacuum Sealer
A good vacuum sealer is probably the most important piece of kitchen equipment which has influenced and changed my approach to cooking.  A vacuum sealer is not just about storing and freezing food – it is about maturing meat, marinating, infusing and cooking without added fats and oils, damaging or dehydrating food.

Ageing Meat
Why do guests tell me that my beef and lamb is the best they have eaten?  The answer is simple – it is because we purchase good quality meat and then we age it.  Learn this art and you too will find that your meat has a different taste and a melt in your mouth texture.

Perfecting a Jus and Sauce
The perfect accompaniment to a dish is a rich jus or creamy sauce. The ability to create a lovely ‘reduction’ is an art, but one which can be simply learnt and often large batches can be made for the freezer.

Most of the dishes which we serve at the lodge are available in recipe format for students at the Cooking School, including the secrets of our much acclaimed signature dish Lemon Souffle!


A special hourly rate of $50.00 per person (or couple) is charged for guests staying at the lodge.  For non-guests the rate is $100.00 per hour per person with a minimum of four hours.  For group bookings the cost is $100.00 per hour for the first person and $25.00 for each extra person up to a maximum of four.

Sessions are subject to Fran’s availability (especially during our peak season) and are available between 11.00 and 2.00 pm.  Bookings are essential to ensure Fran’s availability.

Cooking School Enquiry Form

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