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Sean Armstrong (Chef)

Celebrity Chef Sean Armstrong, founder of top Auckland bakery Loaf Handcrafted Breads, credits his love for food to his late father who introduced him to food "like no other person has".

The most important thing he took away from his father.s wild combinations was that they were put together with love, and a passion for food and flavours.

Sean did his chef training and apprenticeship in New Zealand. But wanting to take his cooking to another level, he journeyed to London where he worked for three years at the Michelin-Starred Greenhouse restaurant in Mayfair.

After leaving the Greenhouse to travel around Europe for some more amazing eating experiences, Sean returned to London to spend several months working in different restaurants around the city. Working at established places such as Stephen Bulls, gastro pubs and small Italian eateries, Sean soaked up as much knowledge as he could before teaming up with inspirational cook Andrew Green to found Corney and Barrow in the West end.

After receiving various accolades at the restaurant, it was soon time for Sean to return to New Zealand to rock and roll in the cooking world back home.

Sean moved into the role of head chef at Auckland's O'Connell Street Bistro, where he was chosen to be a New Zealand Beef and Lamb ambassador. From there he teamed up with O.Connell Street owner Chris Upton and went on to open the acclaimed Prime Bistro.

Years later the inspiration came for Sean to enter the world of baking. In 2004 he founded gourmet Auckland bakery Loaf Handcrafted Breads and set about creating high quality breads by chefs for chefs, with the best service to match.

And it wasn't only gourmet chefs who were crying out for high quality artisan breads. With home cooking enjoying a resurgence in New Zealand and world-wide, consumers were keen too.

"Loaf is all about wholesome food and real ingredients but above all, flavour,"Sean says. "All along we have strived to produce food for people who enjoy baking, just like mum used to make.
"We don't over-manufacture. We try to create a little bit of nostalgia, keeping our products as natural as possible. It literally is like mum used to bake because we have lots of inputs, from staff, from mums and grand-mums and from the general public as to what consumers like.

Sean has become a household name in New Zealand's culinary landscape and the go-to-guy for anything and everything on bread and baking.

Sean's ability to work with bread in modern and exciting ways and his affable, relaxed Kiwi charm has made him popular talent for cooking demonstrations on shows such as MasterChef, Breakfast TV and Good Morning. He has been a regular food writer for Taste magazine and a former food writer for North & South magazine.