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Tina Duncan turns up the heat at Northwood

Written by Alan Wood
on June 12, 2024

Renowned foodie and chef Tina Duncan stepped into a brand-new apartment kitchen space at Northwood Retirement Village to show off her skills in front of an eager group of cooking show attendees.

Tina likes to inspire. She asks that Ryman residents or those thinking of moving into a retirement home to keep being foodies at heart pointing to recipes including in her own recently published Plated – A lifetime love affair with food. Health is all important too, especially for older people.

“I talk about my book... the recipes in there are so precise, and so simple. I’m making a soup today, so just don’t think cooking is too hard because it’s not. It’s just so simple,” Tina says.

“Today I want to talk about nutrition, I want to talk about health. I’m doing a fish dish, fish is important, and the recipe includes tomatoes – we have to eat cooked tomatoes because they contain lycopene and lycopene is brain food. It’s all of those things, I want to share with people.”

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The audience was certainly attentive. They heard Tina’s thoughts on ‘home is where the heart is’, and to bring in friends, family and neighbours for a dinner or meal. “Be organised, so that you can enjoy people.

“I mean, I just love having my grandchildren in the kitchen with me... and I think that’s really to be encouraged,” Tina says. She also enjoys strong connections with friends and work colleagues, including Susan Butler-Thompson. “I do a lot of cooking classes, and Susan is always there for me.”

Tina says being part of a large family helped her find her space in life. “You know what -- I’ve always cooked. I was one of six, and you know in a big family you kind of find your niche and mine was in the kitchen with my mother, cooking. She was an extraordinary cook. We grew up on a farm (near Weedons) and we had the most incredible vegetable garden... when I think about it we had the most incredible eating life.”

At the age of 72, she has been cooking for six decades. She says does not think of herself as old, and says neither do her children. They have the same attitude to her of “not stepping away” from living life to the full.

Her own mother lived to the age of 94, including for 10 years with Tina and her family. She now encourages older people to eat well, both to keep up their weight and for their general health.

Northwood Area Sales Manager Ann Hall welcomed Tina to the village, introducing her to those in attendance. “What a treat we have in store for you today! With a deep love for cooking that began on her family’s Canterbury farm, Tina’s culinary journey is both heart-warming and adventurous. As the author of the cookbook Plated (mentioned on Tina’s website tinalovestocook.com) she has shared her passion for bringing people together through food.”

The book includes her grandmother’s brawn recipe, and her mother’s recipe for shortbread, plus there’s some of her own creations. Her husband Grant and four daughters Nicola, Katie, Georgina and Maria, are mentioned in a dedication at the front.

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She met Grant, a Kiwi, in London, and remembers well her formative experiences of cooking in London restaurants. They married back in New Zealand and lived in Thames for a number of years before returning to her southern roots. From 1987 she and Grant enjoyed early family life on a South Canterbury farm, and in 1999 took on White Tie Catering in Christchurch as a business for the next 20 years.

During that time Tina was a founding director of Savour New Zealand, a food masterclass series that brought some of the greatest chefs and food writers in the world to Christchurch. During this time, she then found herself cooking dinner for Antonio Carluccio, Anthony Bourdain, Maggie Beer, and Stephanie Alexander, to name a few.

Now semi-retired Tina lives in Christchurch alongside a large family and still, her favourite thing to do is bring everyone together around the table.

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,900 residents and the company employs 6,800 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Group Corporate Affairs Manager Silke Marsh on +64 27 294 3609 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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