Our Story

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 company, employing 35 full-time, 12 part-time and over 100 casual staff. 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 is now sold in specialist stores in New Zealand and Singapore.

Ruth loves to share her enthusiasm for food and entertaining. She is a regular contributor to radio and television programmes, and since 1999 has her own column in the Dominion Post Weekend Magazine section.

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’s connection with New Zealand’s finest foods and beverages at international level continues. The team managed VIP Hospitality services for New Zealand Trade & Enterprise at the 2005 World Expo in Japan, the 2010 World Expo in Chine, and 2006 and 2007 America’s Cup Emirates Team New Zealand base in Valencia, Spain. Ruth has also been "guest chef” for international food promotions in France, Singapore and Japan.

In 2005, 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”.

Catering highlights include
  • World premiere of The Lord of The Rings: Return of the King movie for 2500 glittering guests, and New Zealand premiere for King Kong
  • Catering Director for 2001, 2004 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2017 Pinot Noir conference in Wellington, co-ordinating imaginative events for up to 700 discerning food and wine aficionados
  • Air New Zealand Wine Awards Gala Dinners in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2012 presenting menus designed by Air New Zealand’s international consultant chefs for up to 800 guests
  • Partnering with prestigious wine company Ata Rangi for 22 years at the iconic Toast Martinborough Wine Food and Music Festival