Our Chefs

The Seafood School has a fabulous core team of chefs – most of whom have been with the School since we first opened.  Their combined skill and knowledge is incredible and they create new seafood recipes each month to share with us in the cooking classes.  We also enjoy inviting guest chefs in to share their travel stories and wonderful international seafood recipes.

Luca Villari

I currently own Al Volo Neapolitan Woodfired Pizzeria, do catering with Deluxe Events, write for Taste Magazine and do food styling, recipe development, host cooking classes and demo's and shoot adverts.

Find out more about Luca Villari

Paulie Hooton

The Seafood School’s head chef, Paulie Hooton, has more than 25 years’ experience working in some of New Zealand’s most iconic restaurants. Before joining the Seafood School, he was most recently Head Chef at the award winning The Oyster Inn on Waiheke Island.

Find out more about Paulie Hooton

Marco Edwardes

Marco helms the kitchen in Alibi Brewers Lounge, a classy speakeasy for the discerning beer and cocktail crowd. It’s also the home of Tantalus Estate Restaurant and Vineyard in the beautiful vine-laden Onetangi Valley on Waiheke Island.

Find out more about Marco Edwardes

Colin Doyle

Cooking has always been a passion for self-taught Australian cook Colin Doyle. When he arrived in New Zealand from the United States, having just completed a PhD in X-ray Spectroscopy, he decided that he should pursue culinary as well as academic endeavours, and a teaching role at Auckland Seafood School has allowed him to progress from kitchen assistant to teaching chef.

Find out more about Colin Doyle

John Campbell

John Campbell trained in New Zealand before travelling to Sydney and through Asia, surfing whenever there were waves. He landed in London and worked in restaurants and hotels while gaining a certificate in Advanced Cookery at Westminster Catering College.

Find out more about John Campbell

Mark Dronjak

Mark has 30 years experience in hospitality as a chef with a freestyle approach to cooking. A devotee of the great seafood New Zealand has to offer his passionate teaching styles allows Mark to focus on the very best of seasonal produce combining flavour, texture, presentation and encouraging a visual appeal through presentation techniques.

Find out more about Mark Dronjak

Steve Roberts

Steve Roberts is a multi-award-winning chef with an infectious passion for cooking. After classical professional training, Steve decided travel was on the cards. This led him to Australia and then on to Japan for six years, where he soaked up the nuances of Japanese cuisine. Returning to New Zealand he has since lead the kitchens at The Hunting Lodge, Hotel du Vin, Sileni Estate, the Spencer on

Find out more about Steve Roberts

Our Guest Chefs

Judge Bao

“My chef life began when I was 15 with a strong focus on western and European cuisines. I wanted to learn something new and broaden my culinary repertoire. I love Asian foods and was fascinated with the Chinese home cooking Debbie would make for me after my night shifts.

Find out more about Judge Bao

Akira Kugue

Akira Kugue trained in Gion, Kyoto. Moving to Auckland Akira ran Auckland's downtown sushi bar in Seamart prior to opening Gion restaurant in Parnell.

Find out more about Akira Kugue

Petra New

A trained nutritionist, Petra New qualified as a chef in 1989 and worked her way around the world, soaking up the flavours of each country she spent time in.

Find out more about Petra New