Celia Hay's great love of delicious food, fine wine and the art of hospitality led her to establish in 1995, Hay's Restaurant in Christchurch and the New Zealand School of Food and Wine, now located in Auckland's Viaduct.
Celia is a qualified chef and holds the WSET (London) Diploma of Wine. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History, Master of Education (Distinction) and MBA Master of Business Administration. Celia holds the French Wine Scholar credential and is certified by the Society of Wine Educators.
Using certified organic lamb, sourced from her family farm, Inveralloch in Pigeon Bay, Banks Peninsula, Celia was able to carve out a unique dining experience at Hay's. Under Celia's guidance Hay's Restaurant developed an extensive winelist, featuring over 200 premium New Zealand wines and achieved the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence from 2005 - 2009.
Both businesses flourished and Celia went on to established the Duvauchelle Store and Café located in Akaroa Harbour and Celia's Pies, a concept for healthy pies featuring the organic Pigeon Bay lamb and a lower fat pastry. On February 22, 2011 a series of devastating earthquakes struck Christchurch forcing the closure of Hay's Restaurant and the relocation of the New Zealand School of Food and Wine to Auckland.
Drawing on Celia's wealth of experience as a chef and restaurateur she has been able to develop a range of comprehensive New Zealand Qualifications Authority programmes and short courses to reflect the growing skills needed by hospitality and tourism businesses. These courses are enjoyed by people who wish to pursue a career in food and beverage as well as food and wine lovers who are curious and just want to learn more.
Celia's book, How to Grow your Hospitality Business: a guide for owners and managers provides invaluable advice to hospitality students and people wishing to establish their own café, restaurant or catering business. The 3rd edition was published in 2017.
In 2014, Celia published The New Zealand Wine Guide which was awarded the Gourmand World Book Awards Best in the World for Wine and Tourism. This is approved as the textbook NZQA wine unit standards. In 2019/20 The New Zealand Wine Guide (2nd ed) was published.
Celia is founding chair - president of the New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals Association and a member of Foodwriters New Zealand.
Celia sits on the board of Heart of the City, Auckland City's Business Association and is part of Auckland Unlimited Study Auckland was involved in the development of Auckland's Food and Beverage strategy under Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.
Celia has three children, Oliver, Daniel and Alice and regularly travels south to Inveralloch, the family farm in Pigeon Bay and the home of the Hay Family since 1843.