Who am I?
Born and brought up in Baarn in the Netherlands, I left for France in 1969 to study French Literature and Psychology in Paris. It was the start of a love-affair with all things French. Yet I chose to move to East Africa and run Tented Safari Camps in the wilds of Tanzania…
Then I had another love affair: I fell in love with a bush-pilot and subsequently followed him first to Malindi, then to Nairobi where he became chief-pilot of Air Kenya and I worked for the African Wildlife Foundation. My bush-pilot became an airline pilot, we married and moved back to Ireland.
I spent the early 80’s mostly looking after our two boys, restoring old houses and creating gardens, and it was at this time that I embarked on a mission that was to change my life: I trained as a chef..
By 1988 I was working as a chef – both for private clients and in restaurants in Dublin and the West of Ireland. The experience founded my knowledge of food and love of cooking, and eventually made me turn to food-writing for such publications as The Irish Times, Irish Tatler, Wine Ireland, Bon Appétit. I was food-editor of Irish Tatler for 10 years, then launched SQ Food which I edited for 4 years.
Active membership of both the IRISH and ENGLISH FOOD WRITERS’ GUILDS guided my knowledge and sharpened my commitment to honest and authentic food, while 30 years of cheffing and food-writing taught me to write recipes, be creative with food and to style and photograph beautiful images. First and foremost however, these years taught me how to SHARE my knowledge, passion and love of food with others..
While continuing to write about food I completed a BA in Fine Art in 2003 which guided me in my more creative decisions. This in turn led me to buy a rambling old ruin of a house on the Canal du Midi near Narbonne, from where I wanted to run residential food and art weeks. Thus, in 2003 I moved lock stock and barrel (but minus the pilot who chose to stay in Dublin) to the South of France to restore this ancient Maison de Maitre. After spending far too much money doing up this huge house, I ‘re-invented’ myself to pay the bills and earn a living, and thus I ran the house as a B&B with a foodie and artistic edge.
For 10 years I ran 1-week-long COOKING and ART courses from there, but as the B&B got busier I found there was less and less time for my most ardent passions: cooking and art. So I sold up in 2013 and moved east to be closer to Provence.
Since then I have settled in the beautiful Roman/Medieval market town of UZES where I run a cooking school between May and November, and continue to paint during the winter.