Well-known chef Jo Seagar is coming to town next month to host a high tea for the Whanganui Literary Festival.

She will be talking about her new book, Elbows off the Table, Please, at the high tea on Sunday, October 8, and sharing tips for good baking.

The new book combines recipes for special occasions with a modern etiquette guide.

"My books are more than just recipes," Mrs Seagar said.


"It's a sort of modern etiquette.

"I've got a lot of food that would be very desirable to take to people's places."

The cookbook author has been to Whanganui before.

"I came on a book tour in the last few years, and I've actually canoed the whole river."

Although she now lives in Canterbury, Mrs Seagar grew up in Hawke's Bay and has a sister living in Taranaki.

"It's always nice to be in rural New Zealand."

The former TV chef shared a few baking tips with the Chronicle ahead of her appearance at the literary festival.

"If you have shoddy measurements, you have shoddy results."

Getting oven temperatures right was also important, she said, and baking had to be more exact than cooking an evening meal.

"If you're baking a cake, you can't take it out halfway through and add another egg."

She likes recipes simple, though, and said complicated instructions seem to exist "just to make more dishes".

"I can't be bothered with complicated. I try to get rid of all the silly bits."

Mrs Seagar was hoping to provide a bit of knowledge gained through long experience.

"Some cakes, I've probably baked a thousand times."

Since the closure of her Canterbury restaurant she has remained busy with culinary tours and fundraising for hospice.

The French-trained chef recently returned from a tour of Britain, which featured Scottish cooking classes.

Next on the list is Morocco, where she has run tours for a number of years.

"I'll be talking a little bit about my foodie trips.

"What you really want is to be invited to someone's home. It's all about that family connection, which is also what my cooking's all about."

She also writes a regular column for the Australian Women's Weekly.

Mrs Seagar has written a number of other cookbooks, including It's Easier Than You Think, A Bit of What You Fancy and Jo Seagar Cooks.

High Tea and Etiquette will be on Sunday, October 8 at 2:45pm, in the Pioneer Room at the War Memorial Centre. Bookings are essential and numbers are limited.

Bookings can be made through the Royal Wanganui Opera House at royaloperahouse.co.nz

Jo Seagar and other writers will also attend Cocktails and Canapes on Saturday, October 7 at 5.30pm at the Mud Ducks Cafe.