How long have you been cooking and what made you want to be a chef?
I consider myself to be more of a cook than a chef. I have always loved food and have been cooking for over 25 years. Like many people, in my younger years I struggled with my body image which led to trying out diets that focused on calorie counting rather than nutrition. Thankfully, my love of ‘real’ food coupled with a study of eating psychology led to an understanding that there are far better routes to health and happiness than the diet industry can provide, and you don’t have to sacrifice the enjoyment of great food to be healthy!
My job is to share that knowledge with people and get them inspired about creating and enjoying healthy food. I do this through one-to-one food coaching with those who want to change their eating habits and positively influence their relationship with food, and by running food and wellbeing retreats where people can learn how to create heathy dishes in a relaxed environment.
Can you talk us through your style of cooking?
Nutritionally balanced, colourful, inventive in the use of ingredients, but simple to make. I am always looking to create truly tasty, indulgent plates that have health and wellbeing in mind.
Which chef has influenced you most during your career?
I absolutely love experiencing food in (mostly) all of it’s guises and particularly love Chefs that place focus on making use of local produce and suppliers. When it comes to the one who has influenced me the most it has to be Dale Pinnock, The Medicinal Chef. His background in nutrition and approach to food as medicine, has hugely inspired what I do. So much so that I am currently studying for a diploma in Applied Nutrition with his School of Culinary Medicine.
What are your favourite garnishes to use when plating up?
Super fresh herbs, I particularly love coriander and mint, and edible flowers in salads and on raw fruit and chocolate tarts.
What is your favourite product to work with?
I absolutely love working with cacao powder and cacao butter to create the most amazing raw chocolate. Not only does it smell and taste divine, when melted over a low heat it retains its nutritional value, which makes it truly good for body and soul!
The selection wheel of edible flowers from Nurtured in Norfolk really did surprise and delight guests at my retreat. Not only did it provide beautiful decoration for their sweet creations, the experience of exploring different varieties and flavours was a unique and fun experience for everyone.
What does the future hold for you as a chef, what is your ambition?
The future of The Mindful Cook and my role as a cook and food mindset coach is to inspire more people to look after themselves by learning to create and enjoy great food that promotes health and vitality, and to help those that need a little more support in overcoming challenges around food and eating.
I intend to launch retreats at two more venues in the UK next year, continue to offer one-to-one coaching and get more people out of a food rut and into the kitchen!