I started Savour shortly after moving to New Zealand in 2011. We began as a Wellington-based Meetup group to bring like-minded foodies together over cooking workshops, wine tastings, culinary travel and more.
Savour has now grown and offers regular cooking classes, food tours to France, and curated feasts where dinner guests learn the stories and history behind their meal. We’ve collaborated with Hippopatamus restaurant at the Museum (now QT) Hotel on a “Dine with Monet” Wellington-on-a-plate event where the chefs recreated recipes from Claude Monet’s life in Giverny; in 2018, Sofitel joined Savour to bring to life the era of the Parisian Belle Epoque with an evening of fine dining, cabaret music and culinary history. More recently, the fabulous culinary gastronomad and Kiwi icon, Peta Mathias, joined us for a series of cooking workshops at Te Papa Museum to celebrate love and food stories from her book "Eat Your Heart Out".
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Bon appétit! Wendy
From a young age, I associated good food with adventure. My American parents thought it would be exciting to move the family to a new town (or country!) every two years. One of my first memories is of my mom driving us through the tropical jungle in Puerto Rico to buy bananas from her local friend. From the tropics we moved to Canada where, instead of beaches, we now spent our time ice skating on the frozen lake next to our house and thawed out after with warm rhubarb crumble by the fire.
Without even trying, my parents taught us to eat in season, to eat fresh, organic vegetables. My dad hunted the deer around our property and now regularly visits my sister in Alaska where they live off the land, hunting caribou, moose, and wild sheep. As a teen, I was anti-hunting and used to kick up a huge fuss at the dinner table but now I understand if we're going to eat meat, why not reconsider where it's coming from, how it's raised, how it's killed?
My parents were and still are avid gardeners with a huge vegee patch. This meant fresh cherry pies, new potatoes dug right before dinner and served boiled with butter and parsley, vine-ripened tomatoes that smelled as good as they tasted. We picked and preserved the berries that didn’t make it into my mother’s delicious (and frequent!) desserts. When my parents finally settled in Pennsylvania, our Persian neighbours became close friends and their family feasts ignited a life-long passion within me for Persian and Middle Eastern food, tables laden with colourful, fragrant dishes to share. How I love to recreate similar feasts here in NZ for friends and everyone who comes to my cooking classes!
When I moved to France as a teenager, I fell in love. With the people, the culture, the language—and crucially, the food (though I did end up marrying and divorcing a Frenchman!). I became so obsessed with France that, once I spoke French fluently, had a French passport and a French husband, I thought I should get a PhD in French literature and art history too! But when I look back all these years later, I realise that the reason I wanted to learn more was because of all those trips to markets and restaurants all over France. I felt connected--to the locals I talked to and bought produce from, to the chefs I chatted to during their break about the best way to cook some crustacean I had purchased and didn't know what to do with (I still have hand written notes from one chef in Montparnasse about how to cook mussels..I was 18!).
Living in New Zealand is a new exciting chapter, even though I've been here with my two teenagers, Max and Lucia, for 9 years now. Shortly after settling in Wellington, I decided to go back to study and retrain as a chef at Weltec. After working in a few top Wellington restaurants, I started teaching cooking workshops around Wellington. Since 2013, the business has grown and become Savour. Over the years, I've had the privilege to work with some of the best chefs in the country and run workshops on fermentation, sourdough, wild food and more!
I've always loved gardening and growing my own vegetables, herbs and flowers, many of which I bring along to use in cooking classes. Last October, to increase our growing area, we turned our grass yard at home into a huge organic vegetable patch! Currently we're getting the beds ready for Spring while still harvesting silverbeet, beetroot, kale, broccoli, carrots, spring onions, lots of herbs, lettuce, rocket and more. All our vegees are picked right before each cooking class, assuring absolute freshness!