UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
SO WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU WANTED TO BE A CHEF?
My road to becoming a chef was not as straight forward as some people! My first experience of cooking was on my first season as an 18 year old in Meribel on my gap year when I had already secured a place at Manchester University to study English Literature and start a career in fashion journalism. My head chef in Meribel ended up being my best friend so in university summers I kept my hand in cooking by working in villas with her. I also completed another two winter seasons cooking in chalets. After university I started working in fashion PR in London but quickly realised it was not for me. It was the job I kept doing in between training as a journalist that was the thing I actually loved doing the most! Since becoming a chef full time I have never felt more inspired and fulfilled in the work place.
WHY ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT FOOD?
The main reason I decided to become a chef was creativity. I am an extremely creative person and working with food is an amazing way to channel that. Food is a way to make people happy and I love the instant gratification that you can receive when people love your food. Food unites people, brings friends and families together and being a chef you can be a part of that and take those experiences for people to another level. Another key element of being a chef for me is the limitless possibility to learn new things. I am a person who constantly needs to be challenged and experiencing new things. Being a chef is never boring, there are always new ways to challenge yourself. For me food is inspiring and is the source for me to create something that both excites the taste buds as well as being visually spectacular.
WHERE DID YOU TRAIN?
Before my very first season I completed a 2 weeks chalet chef course at Orchards Cookery School which was a great foundation for that first season. I worked in a restaurant in London for 6 months which was a great experience and taught me about the organisational side of cooking and that the most important ingredient in a restaurant kitchen is communication. Without team work a restaurant would fail no matter how good the head chef or the food is. I completed a five day fine dining cookery course at Ashburton Cookery School in Devon, which I can’t recommend highly enough. It’s a great school with amazing chefs and facilities that cater for people of all levels. Since then I have made a conscious effort to learn as much as possible from other chefs and have taught and pushed myself. The last year felt like a bit of a baptism of fire for me as I feel like I have been playing ‘catch up’ because I only decided to be a chef when I was 25 and so I have been trying to learn as much as possible, as fast as possible, without having to go to any full time cookery schools.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT FAVOURITE DISH TO COOK?
I don’t think I will ever have a favourite ‘dish’. I am really enjoying cooking Asian style dishes at the moment and all the guests so far seem to love my Vietnamese Pho soup.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE OR MOST INSPIRATIONAL CELEBRITY CHEF AND WHY?
I love all of the Ottolengi cook books. My Mum bought me all of them for my birthday last year. The ingredients he uses are amazing and everything is more about taste than precise plating. However, my favourite celebrity chef is Gizzy Erskine as I love both her food and her style.