A little bit about me!
“I’m a self-taught chef. As a child I always loved food and was eager to know how it was made. I spent ages watching my mother cook and couldn’t wait to make my own dishes.
I went to art school and specialized in interior design. Designing kitchens was my favourite thing but I knew I really wanted to work with food. I started doing Directors’ Lunches for companies in London; it was a great way to learn about catering. I got married, had two children and then set up a business with a friend catering for all kinds of parties. But I still knew I had a lot to learn.
My family moved to Cornwall where I worked with Jean Christophe-Novelli at his restaurant. Returning to London I realised I wanted to get a professional kitchen training. I wrote to Pierre Koffman who ran the very famous Tante Claire restaurant in Chelsea. He was surprised by my bold approach and told me he didn’t normally employ women but he took me on. It was an amazing training. I spent time on all the sections and learned so much.
Once I felt confident about cooking I travelled the world as a freelance chef and then I became head chef at Moyns Park, the home of the Mountbatten family. Then I moved to the Outer Hebrides to Amhuinnsuidhe Castle on the Isle of Harris. This beautiful place, owned at the time by Jonathan Bulmer, is a very exclusive hotel which offered field sports. They needed a chef who’d enjoy cooking with all the fresh fish and game they produced. I set up a cookery school and it was a huge success. At this time I started appearing on television shows and getting well known. Producers from Channel 5 ‘discovered’ me and created a series for me called Castle Cook.
I then moved to Swinton Park in Yorkshire and set up a cookery school. It was at this time that I appeared as a judge in Ladette to Lady and also in I’m a Celebrity, Get me out of here!
I have published eight cookbooks. The last one – Absolutely Foolproof Cookery – has just been reissued in paperback. I left Swinton Park and set up a cookery school in Tunbridge Wells but it closed a couple of years ago. Now I’m concentrating on developing my online Cook Alongs (launched during lockdown) writing more books, appearing at events, making television programmes and doing cookery demonstrations. One of my latest shows was for Netflix called The Best Leftovers Ever! and I was also a judge on ITV’s Cooking with the Stars and taught Johnny Vegas how to cook.
The lockdown life of the last year was hard but it gave me the opportunity to start running cookalongs and masterclasses via zoom. These are such fun and I hope you’ll join them.
Oh, and my first novel, a murder mystery called The Last Supper, has just been published. I’m so excited about it and pleased that it’s been well received.
So, that’s my potted history! I do look forward to seeing you at one of my Cook Alongs or Masterclasses."