About Us


There is a growing awareness of the importance of eating well.  With the rapid rise of fast foods and processed foods over the past 50 years many people have forgotten or never learned how to cook proper healthy meals. We want to change this trend and show people that cooking healthy nutritious meals can be fun, quick and easy.

We share our passion for cooking using the best ingredients possible and show you that cooking doesn’t have to be a chore but can be rewarding and a lot of fun. From planning a menu to sourcing the best ingredients, where to shop and how to stock your pantry a day with us will leave you feeling inspired and indulged.  Additionally we highlight how easy and economical it can be to grow your own produce and emphasise the importance of eating together. Ultimately we want to bring ‘real’ food back into everyday life.



Lou Bentley

Lou was born and bred in Oxford, North Canterbury growing up on a farm.   She spent 10 years in London from 1995 where she worked as a Business Analyst in Investment Banking. Lou’s real passion however is food, cooking and sourcing local, seasonal produce which is why Akaroa was chosen as the venue for the cooking school.  Lou trained at the New Zealand School of Food & Wine in Christchurch and has had many hours experience in the kitchen both in catering and restaurants before opening the cooking school in 2009.


Ant Bentley

Ant grew up in Auckland and spent his childhood summers at Waiheke Island where fresh seafood was never far from the menu. Winter holidays were spent on relatives farms in the Wairarapa where he developed an understanding of food origins.  After returning to NZ from a 10 year stint in London working in Finance he began thinking of  business ideas to follow his passion for food and cooking to create a lifestyle for his young family.


Inspiration came to them both after spending four days at a cooking school in Chang Mai Thailand.  The seed was planted to do something similar in New Zealand and their favourite holiday destination in Akaroa ticked all of the boxes in terms of fresh produce, location and stunning scenery.

The cooking school has now been running successfully for 10 years and they have a loyal following of guests from all over the world. Lou and Ant wrote their first cookbook which was published in 2014 and have just completed their second book ‘Fresh from Akaroa’. On top of running cooking classes in Akaroa they run culinary tours in both Italy and New Zealand and also travel abroad running master classes as guest chefs. They live in Akaroa with their two children Chloe and Oscar.