Who am I?
Brought up in Baarn in the Netherlands, I left for France in 1970 to study French Literature 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 to Nairobi where I worked for the African Wildlife Foundation. My bush-pilot became an airline pilot, we married and moved back to Ireland.
The early 80’s were spent mostly looking after our boys, doing up 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 1986 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 memberships of both the IRISH and ENGLISH FOOD WRITERS’ GUILDS guided and sharpened my knowledge and commitment to honest and authentic food, while 30 years of cheffing and food-writing taught me not only to write recipes and be creative with food, but also how to style and photograph beautiful images. First and foremost however, these years taught me how to SHARE my KNOWLEDGE 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. Thus, in 2004 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 had to ‘re-invent’ myself to pay the bills and earn a living, and so 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 cookery school.