By TRACEY ROXBURGH
If this was any other year, Peta Mathias would be in her home in the south of France,
teaching cooking classes and getting ready to go on a week-long culinary tour in the
Covid’s put paid to that, indefinitely.
Instead, the vivacious Kiwi chef, author, broadcaster, entertainer and singer is, like many others, exploring her own country — inbound to Queenstown for a special event next month, being put on by Watson & Wyatt.
Mathias jokes she’s ‘‘the only Aucklander not in Queenstown last weekend’’, but is looking forward to rectifying that when she flies in ahead of her ‘Eat Your Heart Out’ event at Gibbston’s Winehouse, which includes morning tea, a gourmet three-course lunch, wine, cooking demonstrations and a personalised book reading and signing.
The event takes the same name as Mathias’ book of love stories from around the world,
released in November, but ‘‘it’s not just about the book’’, she tells Mountain Scene.
‘‘It’s like a vaudeville show — the only thing I’m not doing is trapeze work.’’
Mathias says she can appreciate better than many how tough life’s been for Queenstowners since March.
‘‘You guys were really hit hard, like me.
‘‘I’m in the tourism business, I’m in the travel business.
‘‘I lost everything, overnight — all my income.
‘‘Which is what everything in Queenstown did.’’
But, she says, the silver linings are everywhere, particularly if you look across the ditch to our hard-hit Aussie cousins — where Covid-19’s surging again, particularly in Victoria, where 374 new cases were reported on Tuesday.
Mathias had, initially, planned a couple of tours to Australia, ‘‘but they are doing very badly, so I can’t see that bubble opening any time soon’’.
Instead, she’s doing events the length and breadth of New Zealand, something she wouldn’t have done if she was ‘‘living a normal life’’.
‘‘It’s a really good thing that’s come out of Covid that I’ve been able like a lot of NZers [to travel NZ].
‘‘I’m just looking forward to getting out into NZ, having fun with people and just thanking God that we live in New Zealand and thanking God that we have such a good Prime Minister who steered us through this.
‘‘We are lucky.’’
And while she’s thrilled Covid helped people to find, or reignite, their love for home cookery and wants to give ticket-holders some tips and tricks in the kitchen, it’s a ‘‘double-edged sword’’.
‘‘It’s really good that people are cooking at home, but also the restaurants need to be supported, so we also need to be getting out, and eating out as well, if we can afford it.
‘‘Eating out is entertainment.
‘‘Eating at home is something very comforting.’’
Eat Your Heart Out’s being held at the Winehouse on Saturday, August 22, from 10.30am till 2.30pm.
Tickets, through Eventbrite, cost $165 – for an extra $25 there’s a return bus trip from
Queenstown or Frankton.