My fascination in food took hold at an early age for many reasons. My mother did not cook, at all. My godmother, however, was a well known food writer, who invited me to stay for weekends in London, treating me to the delights of the Soho delicatessens and the cuisine of top London Chefs. Then in the late fifties I went to Paris with my Bristol dancing school, performed at the Grand Palais, tasted French food, coffee, croissants and cognac. I was barely ten.
Later at seventeen, when invited to stay with a friend in Japan, I travelled on the Trans-Siberian Railway across the thousands of flat miles of Russia, dining on horsemeat with beetroot and fried eggs smothered in cheap caviar. After three days bobbing across the Sea Of Japan we reached Yokohama. From there I took the newly built bullet train to Osaka where I was met by friends and given a six week experience in Japanese food and culture before repeating the two week – long trek home. It was an enormous adventure and a gastronomic revelation.
The first half of my adult life was taken up raising children and acting. Between acting jobs I cooked in restaurants, cafes and worked free-lance catering for weddings and a variety of celebrations. By the 90’s I felt the need for professional training so I attended a Cordon Bleu school, which though old fashioned was an excellent discipline. From there I went to France and worked on an exclusive barge – only 40 metres long with a drawing room, grand piano and swimming pool, cooking for small groups of wealthy Americans, who were charming but frequently on seriously strict diets. It was a massive learning curve.
I spent two long seasons in Burgundy. During the winter months I went to The States, invited by some of the guests, to live with them and produce a series of dinner parties, something I continued doing long after I’d left the canals of Burgundy.
After France I went on to work in other parts of Europe and Britain cooking for shoot weekends, stag-do’s, families on holiday also members of the Royal family either at their retreat near Sandringham or at Kensington Palace, providing garden parties, dinner parties, Christmas and Easter fayre.
In 2003 I was privileged to be asked to work in Palm Beach for a couple and their visitors – a job I did for two winters.
Then when a local Organic butcher asked if I would like to open a deli in his shop I jumped at the opportunity and went on a cheese and charcuterie course run by The Guild of Fine Food, who later invited me to become one of their judges for the Great Taste Awards and World Cheese Awards, something I still enjoy doing. I ran the deli for a number of years.
More recently a recording studio in north London cooking for the artists, models and crew became my bread and butter work, fitting around private clients, many from my deli days. With my private client work growing, the studio was taking up too much of my time and sadly had to go.