Site logo


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.




The latest in luxury travel and tour updates directly to your inbox.