NZ Riding for the Disabled is proud to welcome baking icon Jo Seagar. She’s our NZRDA Gingerbread Horse Challenge Champion.

Below is a welcome message from Jo to all new and returning Gingerbread Horse Bakers.


Jo Seagar — dubbed ‘the cook of the nation' by Next magazine — is the hugely successful bestselling cookbook author and TV cook, famed for her catch-cries of ‘Easy peasy' and ‘Maximum effect for minimum effort'.

Jo was born in Christchurch and grew up on a farm in Hawke's Bay before her family moved to Auckland when she was 16.  She trained as a general nurse at Auckland Hospital, then spent five years working in London. It was there that she developed a passion for cooking - first by studying at London's prestigious Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and then at La Varenne in Paris.

She returned to Auckland to work as a charge nurse at a children's hospital, but opened her first restaurant soon after.

"It wasn't that I stopped loving nursing, it was just that I had a change of direction."

She began writing about food for magazines like North and South and Cuisine as well as the New Zealand Woman's Weekly, then began pushing for her own television cooking show - but was first told "we'll never have cooking shows on prime time". She got her own show in 1998 - Real Food For Real People, and this series was a followed by Jo Seagar Cooks, bringing the chef known for her pearls and her ‘easy-peasy' catch-cry to a wider audience.

Her promotion of fresh local ingredients with cooking that should be ‘a doddle', combined with her humorous down-to-earth approach, has endeared her to the nation, with the first edition of her classic ‘You Shouldn't Have Gone To So Much Trouble, Darling’ selling over 70,000 copies.  She has since gone on to release over twenty popular cookbooks, including ‘A Bit of What You Fancy’, ‘Italia: Simple Recipes from the Italia Cook school’ and ‘Jo Seagar Bakes’. Her most recent book is 'Elbows off the Table, Please'.

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