Art of Cuisine

“The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fuelling the body to a ritual of family, community, and an act of culture……Imagine it: Every meal would connect us to the joy of living and the wonder of nature. Every meal would be like saying grace.”  Michael Pollan



Art of Living’s founder, Marieke Brugman has had a lifelong passion for and a former career in food and wine. For twenty five years she was the chef, co-proprietor of the pioneering Howquadale Gourmet Retreat and Cooking School and Gourmet Tours of Australia. She has always had her own food gardens, and is as committed to a ‘paddock to plate” inspiration for cooking as she is to exploring the art of traditional family cooking or the art of innovative, creative chefs. She has been a major contributor to The Symposium of Gastronomy series, to the Australian Regional Food & Wine Network, and to many anthologies celebrating Australian cuisine.

Of paramount importance to her, when travelling, is the cuisine of the country she is in, as the first expression of culture, community and lifestyle. What do they grow? What is in the markets? How do they eat? What do they cook? How are regional variations created?

Marieke’s mission for the design of each tour is to seek out dining and culinary opportunities that are exciting, beautiful, authentic, and congenial for our guests. This might range from a chef’s table in San Sebastian to a Rajasthani bush picnic cooked by a household staff who have served a royal family for most of their life; from sampling a sublime kulcha in the night markets of Lucknow to behind the scenes in one of Paris’s most famous charcuteries.

Each Art of Living journey is hallmarked by dining selections and menu plans that have been chosen to showcase the very best of the region and the country we are in. Wherever possible, we also do our utmost to honour genuine dietary restrictions and allergies. In short, nothing will stop Marieke in her pursuit of a fine and fitting meal for AoL guests.


From time to time, we offer culinary journeys that are even more gastronomically focused – weaving market visits, cooking classes, wine tastings and private dining experiences into a more immersive vacation. Past culinary programs have included trips in Normandy, the Dordogne, Champagne and Provence in France, northern Spain, Rajasthan and South India.
In 2018 we are tasting our way across northern India.


We occasionally orchestrate social salons on the Mornington Peninsula working with outstanding chefs such as Andrew McConell and well-regarded local winemakers.


On these pages we will also give you access to Marieke’s most popularly requested recipes developed in her years as a teaching chef.





  • small group tour
    16 DAYS
    15-30 September 2019
    Womens Luxury Tour
    ‘a siren call to soul sisters’
    Mother India specially calls to women like a siren with her intoxicating colours, scents, sights, multiplicity of cultures and cuisines and ancient spiritual traditions.
This tour is ideal for wome...
  • small group tour
    11 or 14 Days
    Exotic Cultural and Culinary Tour India
    Exclusive Bespoke Tour
    This exceptional and exclusive 11 or 14-day tour has been designed and conceived by Marieke Brugman, a renowned chef and teacher in her earlier career as co-proprietor of the Howqua Dale G...


Virginia AoC

Dear Marieke

Loved our week in Normandy! Memorably special. And you are such a talent!
Having surfed your site a couple of weeks ago, I happily happened upon
the tomato tarte tatin recipe. And wot a success! In my experience tis
the recipe that paves the way . . .

So welcome home and love to you.



World class food savoured with best mates  in God’s own country… paradise enough!
Thanks Marieke.

Lorraine Godfrey

Thanks again for a wonderful day Marieke
Your enthusiasm for fantastic food experiences is infectious.
Look forward to sharing more tables with you in the future.

Lorraine Godfrey


Hello Marieke,
Thank you for your email and the news of your trip. Brought up great visions.
What a great time I had at Bosquet. Have had much fun making stock and tarte tatin (tomato & pear – the first one a success, the latter a total failure, but it tasted great).
You are a fabulous teacher and I feel very privileged to have been one of your students.  To say nothing of the company we kept.  What a terrific group of people.
Kind regards
, Leonie


Dear Marieke,
Saturday was a great day.  Robert and I enjoyed it very much and look back with fond memories on a kaleidscope of delicious tastes, wines, sunlight, leafiness and the clean clear air of the northeast.  The Tea Rooms, along with Pietro et al, is a deeply impressive, gorgeous place.  Thank you for getting it all together

Louise x

Nancy F Boston


Your south India trip was fabulous.  I’m enjoying the memories, photos; and the honey from Bangala has been a daily reminder of that lovely stop on our journey. I have purchased rice flour and am eager to try out some of what I learned.
The photos are sweet reminders of our exotic, intriguing, journey.  Where friends are willing to listen, I go on about the fabulous adventure in South India.
You are a remarkable resource and planner.  I love your outlook and energy.  You created a very positive group environment that facilitated our compatibility.  And that is quite a challenge!

I have prepared my first recipe of Nimmy Paul’s – her father’s favorite
sweet-sour ginger curry.  At my local Indian grocery, I found a
well-informed South Indian store keeper who makes and sells her own dosa batter. Funny what you find when you know a little something.

I’ll be eager to stay in touch with your travels With much appreciation for a most memorable culinary and cultural adventure and warm wishes,

Nancy F Boston