Skip Content
Former tauira Matias (Matu) Cacciavillani and his partner Chelsea Hall

For former tauira Matias (Matu) Cacciavillani and his partner Chelsea Hall, it is their love for good food made from quality produce that is the foundation to their successful catering and food truck business.

The internationally-trained chef had begun devising a business idea with Chelsea while they worked and travelled the world, but it wasn’t until they settled in Whakatū Nelson that they really shifted gears to turn the concept into reality. Matu, who originally hails from Argentina, realised that in order to give their plan the best chances, he would need to study the mechanics of running a business and decided to enrol in Te Wānanga o Aotearoa’s course in Nelson.

“One key thing we focused a lot on in the course, and that we have implemented, is market research - always ask yourself who is your client and what problem you are solving for them,” says Matu.

Former tauira Matias (Matu) Cacciavillani and his partner Chelsea Hall

In 2017 the programme on offer was a Certificate in Business Management Level 4 which today is offered in combination with the Certificate in Project Management.

Matu says although he and Chelsea had already started ‘Viva La Vaca’ by the time he started studying, the course allowed him to hone-in on developing some of the more technical aspects.

“We now work off templates and have some great Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that allow us to work smarter and faster. These were particularly hard for us, as we had to write the SOPs from scratch and then implement them while on the go,” says Matu.

Twelve years on, the pair now run a commercial kitchen for catering which makes up the bulk of their business. From intimate two or three course meals to whole wedding banquets for hundreds of guests, the dynamic duo stick to their philosophy of creating unique culinary experiences for their customers.

“Fresh, local, seasonal, simple. We allow products to speak for themselves, we have some amazing crafters in the top of the south, great weather and variety. Every time we cook for our customers we are celebrating the Whakatū region and all that our growers and producers have to offer!” says Matu.

Former tauira Matias (Matu) Cacciavillani and his partner Chelsea Hall

They still take their food truck on road trips to festivals and open air gatherings, where a parilla (open-fire BBQ) can be seen grilling scrumptious cuts of steak and juicy handmade chorizo ready to be topped with homemade salsa and pickle blends. The menu also boasts a vegetarian option oozing with specially sourced cheese, a delectable morsel that has regular punters seeking out the cheerful blue and yellow truck among the street food line-up.

Matu and Chelsea say the journey has had its share of challenges, including the impact of the pandemic on events, but their optimism, drive and aroha all play a role in delivering true to their motto of “love at first bite”.

Find out more about our business programmes


 Back to news & events

Published On: 4 July 2022

Article By: Salina Ghazally



Other Articles

  • 29 November 2022

    Dreams become reality through wānanga police prep programme

    Becoming a police officer had always been a dream for single mum, Tori Barton, so she was willing to do whatever it would take to make that dream a reality.

  • 10 November 2022

    Grandmother relearning the language she was once punished for speaking

    Papamoa local, Maggie Hautonga Currie has spent much of her adult life living in Perth but after 37 years she was missing her home, her people, her culture and her reo.

  • 31 October 2022

    Wānanga teacher makes good out of a childhood spent in foster care

    Pirini Edwards was a state ward going through boys’ homes and foster homes throughout his childhood. But it was these childhood experiences and life lessons that led him to his current mahi, teaching the Certificate in Bicultural Social Services at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

  • 26 October 2022

    Sharing knowledge integral part of being Māori

    Teaching and sharing knowledge is a natural and integral part of being Māori for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa kaiako (teacher), Rauangi Ohia.