St. Augustine Woman's Journal - Educational Resource to the Women of St. Johns County Since 2009

By Christine Cousart
Owner, Cousart Studios 

Going Home An Opportunity


February 1, 2017 | View PDF

I have always liked the quote "Carpe Diem", or in our language, "Seize the Day". One of my recent personal experiences with this was a decision to take a visit to my homeland of New Zealand. It is always easier to stay committed to my work schedule and as a business owner I tend to get absorbed into the work zone and often do not come up for air. In this case, my parents were having an extended visit there and so I made the extra effort to go because who knows when the occasion would arise again.

Before I knew it I was on the plane to the land of the Long White Cloud, which in the native maori language is named Aeteoroa.

While there, I caught up with my old school mate, Stephen Wilson. Talk about an interesting life he has had! Living in France for years with his English wife and raising four children over there, he was now living back in New Zealand working as a chef. He was trained in France and was extremely knowledgeable in sauces and cooking with what was available locally. A big impression he made on me was his love of the maori people and his desire to educate them on healthy eating because they are 1 ½ times more likely to develop diabetes than non-maori residents. He works with the government to establish eating recommendations and also educates in the schools.

Chef Stephen also cooks for corporate groups and provides cooking lessons for tour groups. His place overlooks the Tauranga Harbor on the North Island which is in the Bay of Plenty (the kiwi fruit capital of the world). We observed him cooking salmon and his assistant Luciano cooked some ravioli in butter with sage (yes, I thought I was in heaven). Steve Bird from Bird's Winery came over with some delicious Sauvignon blanc. We found out that he was one of the few wineries that ship their own wines to the States and yes, they distribute in Florida! Luciano also brought some award winning limoncello that is being produced in New Zealand now. It rivaled what I have tasted in Italy.

If you decide to visit New Zealand, a stop in Tauranga is well worth it. There are wineries to go to (Hawkes Bay), hot salt water pools to indulge in, beautiful bush walks with waterfalls, a redwood forest, hot lava to watch, the beach to swim in and plenty of fishing and boating. If it's in the winter season, you can get to the skiing area in about 3 hours. It is a little bit of paradise on earth.

In the South Island, you can go to the Marlborough wine region, the golden beaches of Kaiteriteri, hike the Milford Track (reservations at least 6 months in advance), go to Queensland, leap off A.J. Hackett's original bungy jump, cruise the Milford Sound (one of the most beautiful places on this earth), whale watching and many other unique activities are available.

If you don't have a bucket list, it's time to start one. Put New Zealand on the top. Kiwi's are friendly and accommodating and want to help. If you want a crazy chef experience that you won't forget for a long time, you can reach Stephen by Facebook at Kiwizine Catering!

Christine Cousart has lived in St. Augustine since 2004 and says that it is the closest to the life she had when growing up in New Zealand. She owns Cousart Studios of Fine Art & Photography. She enjoys painting in all mediums as well as photographing a variety of subjects. She and her husband Kevin have two children that have graduated from Flagler College and one child who attends Palm Beach Atlantic University. The family loves to travel frequently and loves their relationship with many friends in the community.

Cousart Studios of Fine Art & Photography | | 904.687.7700 |

320 Hightide Drive #101 | Saint Augustine, FL 32080


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