Not too long ago in Auckland New Zealand, I found myself spending the day with one of the most flamboyant, colourful and talented ladies. Peta Mathias is one the most noted TV cooking host, author and teacher at the Auckland Fish Market. First she demonstrates and then in the next room the ingredients have been prepped and the students cook the recipes. Then they all sit down at a long table to eat their way through their cooked meal, often to the singing of Peta where “I make everyone cry and then they go home”.

She shows-off her culinary skills “with whatever has recently influenced moi”. My last class was a mixture of French and Moroccan”.

Fortunate students can attend her classes each summer in her spiritual home in Frances. ‘Fete Accomplie’ sits among the lavender and wild thyme in Mas, St. Victor des Oules near Uzes. These classes are not structured and are a gastronomic adventure. She mixes the food as she does her tours – with great diversity. The provisional itinerary from May 31-June 7 (2008) starts with a pick up at Nimes train station. There’s a soupcon of cooking touring markets, visiting a goat farm, eating at top restaurants, taking a French class. At Nimes train station at the farewell, it seems even the most steel hearted bursts into tears. Ditto with her classes in Marrakesh. Scheduled from October 4-10. Mohammed the gardener gives a tour of his property, there’s horse trek with Les Cavaliers de l’Atlas, stir in some casual cooking class where Peta demonstrates warks (Moroccan pastry) and trid (chicken and warka dish). Off to the souk and more cooking and touring and knowing Peta, the unexpected is to be expected.

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