Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Jo Seagar minds her Ps and Qs

Jo Seagar is putting out a new book on how to behave. Photo / Jae Frew
Jo Seagar is putting out a new book on how to behave. Photo / Jae Frew

Celebrity chef Jo Seagar is serving up a comeback after a "rough run" since the financial collapse of her cafe and cooking school.

The company which operated Seagar Cafe, Cook School and Kitchen Store in North Canterbury - Winslow Trading Co - went into liquidation last year. The businesses were run by Seagar and her husband, Ross. The failure left creditors with losses of about $500,000.

Seagar told the Herald on Sunday she believed the ordeal was behind her and a new chapter had begun with her upcoming new book Elbows Off the Table, Please.

"I had a terrible time last year," she said. "The business was liquidated, my mother also died then I badly broke my leg. It has been a rough run but I'm now feeling very positive about the future.

"I have continued to raise funds at hospices across the country and when you see people who are so desperately ill and receiving terminal care it puts your own situation into perspective."

Seagar has said a significant decline in tourism numbers after the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes and an "impatient" Inland Revenue had hastened the demise of her businesses.

The final report by liquidators Deloitte in January showed there was $48,830 left after liquidation costs were settled. Preferential creditors were still owed almost $144,000, and unsecured creditors more than $350,000.

" It seems like we worked terribly hard for ten years for nothing," Seagar said. "But we will come right."

Seagar is writing her magazine column and doing food tours.

Her new book focuses on the importance of good table manners as much as recipes.

Elbows Off the Table, Please is peppered with advice on how to navigate any social occasion and make it truly special.

"It does matter if people speak with their mouth full or are waving knives around at the table," she said. "Even worse is people who sit at the dinner table and text other people.

"But I'd like to think I am more of a wise granny rather than an old school teacher."

Elbows Off the Table, Please is published by Penguin/Random House and is available from book shops from September 1.

- Herald on Sunday

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