Pen-y-bryn Lodge, Oamaru Pen-y-bryn Lodge, Oamaru CREDIT: Southern Public Relations
Italia' book cover Italia' book cover CREDIT: Southern Public Relations

A taste of Italy for Oamaru

Monday 10 October 2011, 2:18PM
By Southern Public Relations


Iconic New Zealand chef Jo Seagar is set to share her Italian cuisine tips and tricks at a special dinner at Oamaru’s historic Pen-y-bryn Lodge.

The legendary author, teacher and television host will oversee the serving of her favourite Italian dishes and share recipes from her new book ‘Italia’ on Sunday November 13. The dishes will be cooked by the Jameses who run Pen-y-bryn.

‘Italia’ was inspired by Jo’s time spent in Italy at a cooking school in Umbria, and aims to make delivering classic Italian dishes ‘easy peasy’ for the New Zealand home cook.

“Authentic doesn’t have to mean difficult, this is for the home cook. I’m delighted to visit Pen-y-bryn and this stunning part of the South Island to share my ideas on a traditional Italian feast with hosts and guests who I hear are all keen ‘foodies’,” said Jo.

Pen-y-bryn is hosting the three-course dinner at a cost of $130 per person which includes a glass of wine paired with each course from award winning Bannockburn winemaker Olssens. Paperplus Oamaru representatives will also attend the event and sell copies of ‘Italia’.

The night of gourmet cuisine is the second in a series of Celebrity Chef dinners being held at boutique Pen-y-bryn Lodge. USA-born lodge owners James Glucksman and James Boussy are passionate ‘foodies’ who are throwing open the doors of their award-winning lodge to chefs from around the country and around the world.

The lodge will donate $5 from every ticket sold to the dinner to the Timaru Hospice, Jo’s charity of choice.

An exclusive accommodation package on offer includes a stay at Pen-y-bryn Lodge with accommodation for two people for two nights, two tickets to view the Blue Penguin colony, two tickets to Jo’s dinner and breakfast both mornings. One breakfast will include a chance to sit down with Jo the morning after the dinner. The package is priced at $1160 per couple.

James Glucksman of Pen-y-bryn Lodge said that staying two nights gives guests the opportunity to experience some of the wonderful things their region has to offer, including the Oamaru Farmers Market held on Sunday mornings.

Jo said she was looking forward to incorporating some of the exceptional produce available in and around Oamaru into her dishes for the night as she said she was “hugely passionate” about the food and wines New Zealand produced.

“I love to provide the tools to create great meals with minimum effort for maximum effect,” she said.

“I’ll be very happy to work with James and James and answer any questions about my Italian experience throughout the night, and no doubt I’ll be asked some of the tricky Christmas cooking questions too!

“Of course I’ll be delighted to sign any copies of the book for those who want it as a fabulous coffee table book or a great Christmas gift.”

Jo Seagar has been the proud Patron of Hospice New Zealand since 1999, a voluntary role which takes her to many events throughout the country each year.

Reservations for the dinner and accommodation bookings are essential by calling Pen-y-bryn Lodge or going online at

About Italia

Jo Seagar’s new book "Italia", Simple Cook School Recipes from Italy is being launched from October 2011.

‘Italia’ is inspired by Jo’s cook school in beautiful Umbria. It shows cooks how to make classic Italian recipes the easy way. In true "easy peasy" manner, authentic doesn't have to mean difficult. Its classic gnocchi, risotto, making pasta and pizza bases, and many other traditional Italian cooking through simple step-by-step instructions.

The book takes readers through an Italian feast -- antipasto, small first courses, salads and vegetables, gnocchi, risotto and polenta, pasta; breads and pizza; meat, chicken, game and fish, desserts (eg Mama's tiramisu); baking, and drinks (eg Papa's limoncello).

More about Pen-y-bryn Lodge and the Jameses

Pen-y-bryn Lodge is a small luxury hotel offering exclusive Lodge-style accommodation in five elegant and superbly appointed guestrooms with modern en-suite facilities in a hillside location overlooking historic Oamaru with views of sea and mountains.

Pen-y-bryn Lodge was built in 1889 for Oamaru businessman John Bulleid, who gave the building a Welsh name meaning “On Top of the Hill”. Reputedly the largest single-level wooden structure in Australasia, the house retains many of its original furnishings and fittings, giving it a very elegant, yet comfortable, feeling. Converted into a lodge in the mid-1990s, and bearing five Qualmark stars, Pen-y-bryn offers guests a rare combination of authentic Kiwi heritage and modern convenience.

Hosts James Glucksman and James Boussy (aka ‘the Jameses’), purchased Pen-y-bryn in 2010. Born in the United States, they lived and travelled all over the world before deciding to make their home in Oamaru.

Before Pen-y-bryn, James Glucksman had a career in international management consulting and healthcare for more than 20 years, living and working in more than forty countries all over the world. Fluent in Russian and Chinese, and with a very good knowledge of French, Spanish and German (as well as some limited Japanese and Hungarian), James' first love was always fine food and wine. He is a member of the Slow Food movement (the international organisation that promotes local and sustainable foods) and is an Officier Maître Hôtelier (I have since been elevated to Chancelier of the NZ chapter of the Chaîne) in the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the Paris-based gourmet society, in the Bailliage of Christchurch.

James Boussy was a dentist who practiced in the US state of Virginia for 15 years before moving his practice to Beijing. James is also a highly skilled baker, gardener and home renovator, and has made a name for himself among his friends for the exquisite gingerbread houses that he creates as the centrepiece of their annual Christmas party.