Ground Food Tours & Retreats
We strongly believe that culture and food are closely intertwined, and that food can offer some of the richest insights into another way of life. Our goal is to give people an authentic experience of another culture through food. Whether you are a visitor to Aotearoa New Zealand hoping to learn more about our country, or you are a kiwi wanting to learn more about another country's cuisine, we hope to get you "off the eaten track" to explore the real local flavour.
Jenny Garing is a linguist, traveller, food writer, teacher, and the creative force behind Lyttelton’s Ground Culinary Centre (destroyed in the February 2011 earthquake) and Ground Gourmet Essentials. Jenny leads most of our tours & retreats, sharing her local food knowledge and secret recipes.
Jenny has spent many years living in other countries and travelling the world training teachers of English language. Through her students and colleagues, she developed a love of other cultures and their cuisines – the wonderfully diverse ingredients, recipes, food histories, family meals, gardens and markets.
When not travelling, Jenny lives in a character-filled house that has 360-degree views of Mahau Sound and the surrounding native bush. She lives with her husband, 2 cats, 2 dogs and 2 nearby kunekunes. When not collecting oysters off the beach, swimming from the jetty or harvesting from Graeme's very productive garden, you can find her in the kitchen experimenting. You can read more about Jenny and her food adventures on her blog.
After spending 14 years travelling the Pacific with her "rusty knight" Brian in his yacht, she is now based in the Mahau Sound enjoying the good life.
Carol is the gopher of our outfit and tries her best to keep us all in line.
Shelley is a true ‘people person’. This is demonstrated in her career choices: social worker, teacher and restuaratuer. She has travelled the globe in search of great food and wine experiences, cut her teeth in hospitality in the USA, then went on to co-own the award-winning ‘London Street’ restaurant in Lyttelton. She was also instrumental in the establishment of the Lyttelton Farmers' Market, Christchurch's longest-running market.
Shelley currently resides high in the hills of Lyttelton in a sweet little cottage, overlooking Whakaraupo harbour. She loves nothing more than a food adventure, and is really excited to share this with you when she leads any of the tours.
Grace and Frankie
Grace (the NZ Heading Dog) and Frankie (the Border Collie Lab cross) are Jenny's devoted food quality-control testers. They love bread, meat, bread, pies, cheese and bread. They will be in residence to help with any mishaps on the Magical Mahau Kiwi Kai Retreat.