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La Belle Vie: Jo Crabb

Escape Festival Tauranga


Jo Crabb has a life most of us only dream about – globe-trotting travels as a child and later as a chef, her own cook school at Palliser Estate in Martinborough, and a second home in Montjaux in the Midi-Pyrénées region of southern France. In her new food memoir, “My Two Heavens”, Crabb shares some of the hard work and good fortune that have given her a heaven on Earth – as well as her love for a long dead French food writer and why there is never a bad time to make bread.

There will be two events at the the ESCAPE Winter Arts Festival featuring Jo.

La Belle Vie: On Saturday 31st May at 11.30am she will be speaking at the X Space in the Baycourt Theatre.  Tickets cost $15 plus booking fees. The talk will last 60 minutes.

Bon Appetit Cook School:  On Sunday 1st June at 3pm she will be hosting a cook school at the Delicacy cafe in the 11th Avenue Plaza. France is reknown as a nation that not only loves food but has a food culture like no other. In this cook school she will share some of her favourite recipes from la belle cuisine. This event is limited to 25 places, recipes are included and the participants eat together from 5pm.  Tickets cost $85.

Born in Christchurch in 1960, Jo Crabb lived between New Zealand and her father's postings as a military observer for the United Nations, including Middle East, India and Pakistan. She met her partner, artist Stephen Allwood, at university in Christchurch. Ever since, they've shared a love of food, art and travel. From Scotland, London, New York to Ponsonby, Coromandel and eventually Martinborough, where she runs her Careme cooking classes at Palliser Estate. She lives between Martinborough and Montjaux.

My Two Heavens, the memoir of restaurateur and chef Jo Crabb, is the story of her enviable life between Martinborough and southern France, and recipes from her cooking school Careme.

Jo Crabb and her partner, artist Stephen Allwood, spend most of the year in Martinborough, Jo running her cooking classes from Palliser Estate vineyard and Stephen painting. Jo and Stephen moved to Martinborough in 1995, right at the beginning of the wine and food culture boom. They ran the famous Café Medici in Martinborough for 11 years before setting up Careme in 2009, and it's fast becoming an institution amongst the Wellington dinner party set. Jo runs beginner cooking courses from ‘easy' right up to ‘master', mostly focusing on her love for French cooking techniques.

This is the story of Jo's life in food, filled with recipes, and the story of finally realising her greatest aspiration by buying a house in la France profonde - deepest France. The book is beautifully illustrated with Stephen's drawings.