Ruth and Paul set up Ruth Pretty Catering in 1988 after Ruth sold her Wellington restaurant Marbles and Paul sold his transport company to move to a 27-acre orchard property Springfield in Te Horo. It’s on the Kapiti Coast, about half way between Wellington and Palmerston North.
Starting in their own kitchen, occasional catering for former customers grew into a full-time business. Providing VIP hospitality for the New Zealand food export sector at major international trade fairs 1989-93 hinted at bigger things to come, and in 1993 a full commercial catering kitchen with support services was built at Springfield.
With a large kitchen garden, freshly picked garden and seasonal product is at the heart of Ruth Pretty’s food. We source exceptional product from a range of suppliers in our region but also throughout New Zealand.
Based in the commercial kitchen, the Ruth Pretty Cooking School started in 1993. Demand from participants for those great kitchen implements, and speciality foods saw us opening the Kitchen Shop in 1995 and expanding to the extensive shop it is today in 2009. The Garden Room attached to the shop is a meeting place for locals and visitors from afar to enjoy coffee and cake.
Ruth Pretty Catering is now a substantial entity, employing 18 permanent staff based at the commercial kitchen in Te Horo on the Kapiti Coast and over 80 casual employees as required. The company operates a fleet of vans - personalised as Buffet, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Feast, Nibble Supper and Grill.
Meanwhile, Ruth Pretty’s range of jams, jellies and chutneys and Christmas cakes are now sold in specialist stores across New Zealand.
Ruth loves to share her enthusiasm for food and entertaining. She is a regular contributor to radio and television programmes, from 1999 to 2016 Ruth wrote a weekly column for Wellington’s Dominion Post Saturday newspaper. Since 2017 she shares her recipes in The New Zealand Life and Leisure Magazine as the celebrity chef contributor.
Thousands of readers have enjoyed her collected recipes in six books, The Best of Ruth Pretty (2001), The Ruth Pretty Cookbook (2002), Ruth Pretty Cooking at Springfield (2003), Ruth Pretty’s Favourites (2006), Ruth Pretty Entertains (2008) and Ruth Pretty Cooks At Home (2012), published by Penguin.
Ruth was honoured by her peers of the New Zealand Restaurant Association with induction into the Hall of Fame, for her "devotion to serving and promoting high quality food – not only in New Zealand, but internationally”.
Today Ruth Pretty Catering successfully caters hundreds of events a year, is ready to rise to any challenge and continues to serve up some of the region’s best dishes.