The secret ingredient is aroha.
We believe in the kind of cooking our grandmothers perfected, with fresh local ingredients and an extra helping of love. Our food is made from scratch with real ingredients, time-tested recipes and a pinch of down-to-earth elegance.
You won’t find a single plastic bowl or pre-made mix in our kitchen.
We use free-range eggs, and mix them with old-fashioned egg beaters. We buy our produce locally whenever we can, from farmers we adore. We make our own preserves and chutneys, bake our own bread and grow our own thyme.
Good food is just the beginning. We treat each event with the care and attention to detail that leaves everyone feeling relaxed, nourished and well looked-after. We’ll talk with you about the style and mood of your event and present the food in a way that suits, whether that means unpacking our vintage tea cups or arranging simple platters.
At our tea room, The Tea Rose, we bring out our best China, whip up our favourite dishes and roll out the welcome mat for wonderful artists to perform. It's a beautiful and intimate gathering space where we host private functions as well as occasional Friday dinners and Saturday breakfasts.
Our approach is simple: We only serve food we'd present with a smile to the people we love most.
In the kitchen
Aroha Catering is the creation of Jennifer Neal, who wields her wooden spoon at each and every event Aroha caters. Jennifer fell in love with the beauty of local ingredients during her years in Spain, still vividly remembers the simple meal of perfectly-prepared rice and vegetables that sparked her passion for cooking, and finds pure joy in sharing food that leaves people feeling nourished, happy and looked-after. She’s always had a knack for throwing together a tasty meal with unexpected ingredients and for building connections by sharing incredible food. Today, Jennifer works with a small and dedicated team to ensure that each ingredient in your food and each fold in your tablecloth is pretty darn perfect.
In the community
You'll often find Jennifer at the Thames Market on Saturday mornings, smell her soup simmering (and hear her heels clicking) at community events and see her dashing around Grahamstown in her apron. Aroha Catering's heart is in Thames and the beautiful Coromandel peninsula.