About Us

Who is Michelle ?

A proud mother to Gilby, Oliver and Alexsander.

Ahhhhh, Im just an old chefie hag who has fabulous last chef standing stories.

I am all about the food & I want you to be too! 

I have had the good fortune to attend the Cordon Bleu school in Paris, and cooked for three Prime ministers.

A baker who has had the privilege of baking bread in Italy.

I hold a diploma in business and forensic biology.

I have worked in hotels, schools, restaurants and large tourism outlets.

In addition to holding various hospitality management roles, I have worked as a banker, a public servant and as a hospitality tutor. 

On a personal level, I am a cat slave, bibliophile and lover of New Orleans.

I live with Edwardo and our exceptionally naughty cats on the Waikato river.

I am passionate about chicken nuggets, travel and I make a mean sazerac!

Michelle Steel

Chef, baker and host

Family of cooks?

The short answer is no!

There was no story about being born into it; my dad was not Nigel Slater.

My mother made the vilest food known to man.

My granddad was an army chef, but he couldn’t entirely transfer cooking for hundreds to cooking for a family.

Maybe I became inspired by Mrs J, my aunt, a good baker and cook.
Her paprika chicken dish I ate as a child is still part of discussions some years later.

My sons cook, so something has innately transferred from me to them; my cats don’t cook, Edwardo can cook but creates a holy arse mess!

However, he does build amazing things for me like gates, fences, pergolas and makes a decent gin and tonic.

Why The River Road Kitchen?


I’m Michelle, and I created The River Road Kitchen to share my passion and love of food.

I’m a bread nerd, chocolate freak, spiced girl.
I love talking about food, reading about it, smelling, tasting, making it, seeing it, the whole shebang.

I simply love food.

Food is magic.
The ingredients you use whisper secrets, tell tales and show strangers all about you.

Food shows people your love for them.
Food is often surprising and never dull.
It’s about getting excited, smelling the herbs, breathing in the spices, tasting your dreams. Food lets you forget all the background noise in your life and makes you feel good.

Food has many facets.
Food doesn’t need to be extravagant or complicated; it can be simple, it can be cheese on toast, or it can be turducken.
My point is,  food is what YOU want it to be, and that’s what I want to show you and give you an experience to remember.

What does The River Road Kitchen do?

We cook.
We eat.
We laugh and learn.
Hopefully, we don’t burn much.

We can get down and dirty, or you can be hands off.
Our lessons are designed for you and the level you are at.
Can’t cook at all? I can teach you the basics.
Want to learn about herbs and spices? I can show you.

Want to be culinarily challenged? No problems.

Want to bring a mate? Sure thing.
Want a series of lessons? We can do it.
Want to attend a workshop? Which one?

 Want to clean my house? I can arrange it!

Does The River Road Kitchen just teach cooking?

No, we do really good food too! 
We are fabulous hosts and offer beautiful formal or casual dining,  in house or at your venue.
We are about unique and exciting food experiences.
We produce and sell exclusive food items.
We host work social groups and team building pizza days.
We can design menus for you at home or in your business.
We offer unique hands-on workshops.
We create food adventures!
We can help you in your business.

Sound like The River Road Kitchen could be for you?
Give me a call, send me a message or an email and let’s talk about giving you an experience to remember!