1420 Railway Road South, RD11, Hastings, Hawkes Bay | ph: +64 6 878 0035 | email us
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Cooking Classes at Hawthorne House

Indulge yourself with a weekend of luxury and discovery at Hawthorne House. Join us and a select group of 4-8 guests for a wonderful weekend of cooking with Cathie Hamilton. Cathie is a passionate cook with a unique cooking background first as a home cook and then as a development and research chef.

Your sumptuous weekend starts on Friday afternoon with a delicious home-made afternoon tea on the deck at Hawthorne overlooking the gardens.  Here you will get the chance to meet your fellow student chefs for the weekend.
After a chance to relax and unwind, and maybe explore a winery or two (there are about 35 locally for you to choose from), the early evening will begin over drinks and nibbles, matching the theme of the weekend. For example, if you chose our Mexican weekend you will be greeted with a margarita made with fresh juices, freshly made tortilla chips, guacamole and tomato salsa.
This event will be hosted by Mike from Hawthorne House and Cathie Hamilton - your chef for the weekend.
Dinner on the Friday night can be arranged at a choice of local restaurants. Arrangements can be made at the time of booking.
Saturday morning begins with a full breakfast including home-made muffins, fresh baked bread, local and home-grown fruits and a delicious cooked breakfast including eggs from our own free-range chickens with locally artisan-produced bacon from Holly Bacon.
After a chance to freshen up after breakfast and a brief chat from Cathie about the plan for the day, the cooking begins. Cathie will go over all of the recipes that will be presented during the remainder of the day. She will also go over any speciality items that will be used during the cooking with a few hints, tips and chef’s secrets!
This is very much a hands-on experience - once in the kitchen, one group will start preparing lunch. The rest of the group will start on dinner with plenty of cooking and tips from Cathie.
We will stop for a great tasting lunch and then back for a spot of cooking to be sure dinner will be ready on time.
Then you will get a chance to visit a local vineyard and/or local suppliers of some of the ingredients used to prepare the food for the weekend. There will also be time for a break to relax and get to know your fellow cooks well.
Once we finish preparing dinner you will sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labour - a lovely 3 course dinner served with matching wines.
The following morning, after a leisurely breakfast, Cathie will meet you at the local farmer’s market where you will be able to sample more great local products and meet some of our wonderful Hawke’s Bay farmers and producers.
All the recipes you work on at Hawthorne have been developed especially for your weekend by Cathie. They have all been tested until they are perfect. You will have time to talk to Cathie about her choice of ingredients and selection of courses. Cathie will also be able to give you insights into the various regional cooking methods, techniques and ingredients along with details on how ingredients are grown, harvested and/or manufactured.
These weekends are the perfect way to learn more about some of the best cuisines in the world, to expand your repertoire of recipes and to build on your cooking experience.   You’ll leave with a copy of the recipes you’ve made, some great memories and new friends.
Dates and themes -
25-27th November - Thai cuisine - Thai food is well known for its balance of sweet, spicy, salty, sour and hot. Come and learn how to use the ingredients of Thai food to create your own great perfectly balanced feast of this ancient cuisine. Dishes include a classic soup and 2 different curries along with vegetables and condiments.
6-8th January - South of the Rio Grande (Mexican) - During your stay over our Mexican weekend you will learn how to blend the wonderful and exciting flavours of Mexican food into some great tasting dishes from fresh made salsas, soup and mole sauces. Come and learn to make the amazing full flavours of Mexican cooking.
23-25th March - Mama Mia! (Italian) - During our Italian weekend you will learn how to make pasta and pizza from scratch. You will use locally sourced ingredients to make some of the great classic dishes of Italian cuisine such as perfect risotto and antipasti platters.
Date TBC - Terrific Tempting Tapas - Spanish food is a great way to entertain. During our Spanish weekend, you will learn to create some wonderful small dishes and will come away with lots of ideas to create your own tapas party for friends and family, from locally made chorizo sausage through to beautiful individual Orange Brandy Sponge Cakes.
Depending on the room that you choose at Hawthorne House, weekend cooking classes range from $400 to $450 per person (twin share - single supplement applies). Please click here to check availability and make a booking. This includes -
  • Welcome afternoon tea
  • Bed & Breakfast accommodation in an ensuite room (Superking / Twin / Queen as selected) all with private balcony
  • 3 course dinner with matched wine on Saturday night
  • Cooking instruction from Cathie Hamilton
  • Guided visits to local wineries / suppliers / Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market as appropriate to course

(NB: travel to/from off-site visits is under your own transport)


Terms & Conditions

A credit card is required to secure your booking.

If you can’t attend a class you’re booked for, you may send a replacement. Please let us know that person's name. If you don’t have a substitute, contact us as early as possible. There is often a waiting list for classes, so we may be able to arrange a replacement for you. However, if your place is left empty on the day, there will be no refund of the class fee.

Sometimes we have to cancel or change a class. In that event, participants will be invited to transfer their booking to another class or receive a full refund.

Please click here for cancellation terms and conditions

Other courses

Watch out for our upcoming courses focusing on French and Greek cuisine.


Tailor-made courses

Cooking together is a great way to have fun. Please contact us if you are a group of 6+ and would like to arrange a tailor-made cooking weekend to suit you and your party. A great way for the family to spend some time together, a hen weekend, or just a fun weekend away with friends. Themes and dates can be arranged to suit your needs. Email us here.