Gourmand hound Hector is living the foodie dream in Muriwai

Hector lives the foodie dream with his charismatic chef owners in Muriwai.

Most dogs that make their way into the kitchen are sneaked the odd morsel, but when your owners are celebrity chefs who run cooking workshops, the temptations are seemingly endless.

Hector the German shorthaired pointer loves to greet guests at the Good From Scratch Cookery School on Michael and Belinda (Bee) Van de Elzen’s Muriwai lifestyle property. The school is housed in a modern barn-style space next door to the family’s villa and an abundant vegetable garden, where most of the ingredients for the classes come from.

Mike is well-known for the TV show Eat Well for Less? New Zealand and, before this, The Food Truck and Food Truck Garage restaurant. But for 20 years he and Bee have been dreaming of establishing a school to share their philosophy – that food is best when it’s prepared from scratch.

When they opened last year, it was a trial by fire. “It’s been a bit of a wild ride thanks to Covid lockdowns,” says Mike. “But there is nothing better than when we get to sit down with guests after a class and share a meal that we’ve spent the morning creating together.”

Afterwards, Hector likes to help with the clean-up. “He’s quite clever at positioning himself around the cookery school after a class,” says Bee, “and has been known to clean up anything that has been dropped on the floor, so we have to be extra careful when he shows up, to make sure there isn’t anything not fit for dogs lying around!”

The pointer has been part of the family since Mike, Bee and their two daughters, Hazel, nine, and Ivy, eight, moved to Muriwai five years ago. Now he has the run of the place.

“Hector’s favourite things to do are hunting rabbits, which he never gets as they are simply too fast, and stalking the chickens, which are behind wire netting, otherwise we wouldn’t have any!” says Mike.

Hector also loves going out to the forest when Mike goes mountain biking, and bounding down to the beach with the rest of the Van de Elzens. “He is 100 percent a part of our family,” says Bee. “We are very spoilt living in Muriwai, and by extension, so is Hector.”

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