Sam Clark’s culinary career began early. Growing up in Raglan and often in the kitchen with his
grandmother Joy, helping (mostly eating) to cook food that was grown on the family farm. As a chef,
Sam loves creating inspired versions of dishes that remind him of those experiences with her.
After studying culinary arts in Hamilton in his teens, and getting a head start in local restaurants
from a young age, Sam was exposed to the creative expressions of French style classic technique.
Sam’s passion for cooking and experience flourished in 2010 when he returned from Australia New
to take up the Head Chef position at Cable Vineyard on Waiheke Island, followed by Clooney in
Auckland in 2014.
Sam, his wife Florencia and son Lachlan relocated to Hawkes Bay in 2019 to start the next part of
their food journey, the soon-to-be open restaurant called Central Fire Station, aptly named for its
delightful art deco building located on Tennyson Street. The generous space is about to be
invigorated into a bustling bistro style restaurant with Hawkes Bay driven food and beverage menus.
It is here that Sam will showcase great local produce cooked simply. Sam says his approach is
“mostly simple dishes, use the best produce and don’t over complicate it”
The Central Fire Station will open in the second half of 2019.
Florencia’s foray into the world of culinary arts began in the family kitchen in Argentina. Learning
from her grandmother Mena and great-aunty Biche who would make fresh pasta by hand, young
Flor would insist on learning how to bake sweets for Sunday afternoon teas.
This was soon to be followed by making cakes for family celebrations using cooking magazines for
inspiration to create sweet masterpieces.
Flor decided once she had completed high school, she would pursue a career in the kitchen. Applying
for cooking school in Buenos Aires, she was accepted into a three-year culinary programme for only
25 students. On completion, she decided to combine her love of travel and cooking and took an
opportunity for a working holiday visa in New Zealand.
She arrived in December 2009, heading to Waiheke Island in Auckland and immediately joined the
team at Cable Bay Vineyards under the tenure of Exec Chef Will Thorpe. This job would change her
life both professionally and personally. Flor thrived in the pastry section of the kitchen and quickly
cemented her skills finely hand-crafting sweet treats and desserts for the multi-award winning
It was also here that love blossomed for Flor when she met her now-husband and business partner
Sam who was Head Chef at Cable Bay. In 2014, Flor became pregnant with Lachlan and took some
time away from the kitchen to become a mum. Around this time and after many requests for
celebration cakes, Flor created Flora & Frola. A side business for bespoke cakes which quickly grew
into a fulltime role alongside being a busy mum.
Florencia says she is self-taught but has spent thousands of hours researching and making creations
through a process of trial and error. “I’m hugely grateful for every single person who has given me
the opportunity to create something delicious and learn in the process. Being able to create cakes
for my friends and clients to celebrate a special occasion is an incredible feeling. For me it is a clear
way to give and receive love.”
Florencia is delighted to be opening Flora’s Cake Studio in the Central Fire Station building in late
November 2019. Her creations will be available in both the cake shop and bistro.
The shop will feature a wide range of cakes including takeaway, made-to-order, GF, and vegan
options. Customers will also be able to enjoy cake, coffee, and tea onsite.
Check out Flora’s Cake Studio on Instagram for updates on opening.