Cook Learn Love

Cook Learn Love was established in 2010 by our principal chef, Helen Flitcroft (nee Pratt). After 14 years working in Fine Dining Restaurants, Helen was ready to start a family with her new husband. The gruelling schedule of kitchen life was simply not going to be a good fit anymore.

Cook Learn Love was born from a desire to help others learn to cook, so that they in turn can provide pleasure to those around them.

“ For me, the simple act of providing pleasure to another human being through food is immensely satisfying and I think for most chefs, this is exactly why we do what we do. It’s what sustains us. This and the stories behind our food; the producers, processes and place. If I can pass this ability and appreciation on to others, then that’s definitely something worth pursuing. I also just happen to love meeting people. Cook Learn Love brings all these elements together in a business that is good for me and good for others.” – Helen

Our Chef: Helen Flitcroft

A Queenslander originally, Helen completed her training in some of Brisbane’s most well-loved French restaurants before heading overseas to live and work in the glorious French Alps. On her return to Australia she quickly gained recognition while leading the team at the iconic restaurant ‘Bistro Felix’ in Subiaco, Perth, Australia.

Helen was known for her own style of refined yet approachable French Cuisine, and of course, ever smiling face behind the pass!

Now living in New Plymouth, New Zealand, with her husband and young family, Helen is excited to be able to share her knowledge and passion with her students.

She will no-doubt acquaint you with some of the hidden gems of produce found from Taranaki as she has a fervour for local produce and loves to discover the people and stories that bring paddock to plate.

helen flitcroft nz

Our Wine Expert: Ronald Wortel

Originally from the Netherlands, Ronald moved to New Plymouth in 2014.

As well as running casual food and wine classes for Cook Learn Love, he teaches the acclaimed WSET wine courses Ronald holds the highest WSET qualification (Level 4 – Diploma) and writes for leading Dutch wine magazine PersWijn, as well as for our local Live Magazine.

When he’s not sticking his nose into a glass of wine or Portuguese port, Ronald, his wife and young family love to hit the road in their classic camper van. Exploring the beauty of New Zealand is what life’s about for Ronald and a visit to a wine region is never far away!

Check out Ronald’s classes here.

Chef: Andy Clark

Andy’s love of food has taken him all over the world, cooking, eating and soaking up a variety of cuisines. As a keen gardener he loves to be involved in the whole journey from seed to the plate. He brings a passion for asian food, baking, slow food and fermentation to the Cook Learn Love team.

Andy has always loved mentoring and passing on his food knowledge to the junior chefs and now he’s excited about sharing it all with you. You can join Andy in any of our upcoming classes.


Chef: Candra Thomson

Originally from the Far North (Whangarei) Candra moved to New Plymouth in 2006 to complete a Certificate in Visual Art. Then in 2008 went on to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Visual Art, majoring in Fine Art with sculpture and installation. After she graduated in 2011, Candra found she did not only have a passion for Art, but also Cuisine.

Her maxim is “fresh, healthy, and homegrown” so she will fit right in with us.

For the past year, she has been exploring the world of raw food ‘cookery’, which she is amazed by not only for it’s sensual appeal but also it’s huge health benefits. Anything that involves a creative and hands-on approach to Food and Art has Candra in her element.