Who am I?
Born and brought up in Baarn in the Netherlands, I left for Paris, aged 16, to study French Literature. 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…
There I had another love affair: I fell head-over-heels for a bush-pilot and subsequently followed him first to coastal Malindi, then to Nairobi where he became chief-pilot of Air Kenya while 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 bringing up our two boys while restoring old houses and creating gardens, and it was around this time that I embarked on a mission that was to change my life… I trained as a chef.
By the late 80’s I was working for both private clients and in restaurants in Dublin. 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, photographed and wrote for 4 years.
Active membership of both the IRISH and ENGLISH FOOD WRITERS’ GUILDS sharpened my knowledge and guided my commitment to honest and authentic food, while 40 years of cheffing and food-writing taught me to write recipes and be creative with food. First and foremost however, these years taught me how to SHARE MY KNOWLEDGE and LOVE OF FOOD with others..
While continuing to write about food, I completed a BA in Fine Art in Dublin in 2001 which helped me focus on more creative aspects of my life. This in turn led me to buy a rambling old ruin of a house on the Canal du Midi near Narbonne, from where I intended 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 Languedoc to restore this ancient Maison de Maitre. After spending far too much money restoring this huge 4-story house, I had to ‘re-invent’ myself to pay the bills, and thus turned the house into a chic B&B with a distinctive 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, there was less and less time for me and my most ardent passions: food and art. So I sold up in 2012 and moved east to be closer to Provence.
Since then I have settled in the exquisitely restored, Roman/Medieval, market town of UZES where I run a cooking school during the season and paint during the winter…