Private Chef Cornwall & Beyond
Here is a little bit about me...Chef Fiona. I am originally from New Zealand but have been living and working in the Westcountry, from Bristol to Cornwall for quite a few years now. I am a foodie so not only do I enjoy cooking, I love eating good food too. Sourcing local, seasonal and ethically produced ingredients is key to my cooking ethos. New Zealand is multi cultural which results in the cuisine being pretty eclectic. My cooking style is very much a culmination of my life experiences. It comes naturally to me to experiment and incorporate diverse flavours and methods into dishes. It is so exciting fusing styles, techniques and flavours together, then tasting them. Travelling, combined with ongoing reading, researching and of course eating, are influential in shaping my style. I would like to think that I have a broad knowledge of food, but one can never know everything and that certainly keeps life interesting. If I hear of something unfamiliar, I will go to great lengths to discover the unknown.
So to credentials; I have been cooking for most of my life and started learning by cooking alongside my mother from when I was tiny. One of my favourite things was to eat uncooked biscuit or cake mix. I know I am not alone with that one! I was 7 years old when I started cooking the Sunday roast for my family and baking bread. I was definitely hooked.
I was classically trained in New Zealand at the Christchurch Polytechnic and became so focussed on being a highly skilled chef, that I was the first student to get 100% in professional cookery theory. I worked in a few kitchens while I was at college. I used to help New Zealand celebrity chef MIchael Lee Richards with his cookery demonstrations and parties. My first professional cooking job, once I had qualified, was at the prestigious Canterbury Tales Restaurant at the 5 star Park Royal Hotel in Christchurch New Zealand (which has since been destroyed in the earthquakes of 2011). At 23, I had my first head chef role, looking after a brigade of 12 in a 60 bedroom hotel with a bustling bistro and wood fired pizza oven in the centre of Christchurch. I desperately wanted to travel and learn more so I moved to Auckland where I worked at restaurants in Devonport and Parnell to save some money before heading for the UK.
Through my culinary journey in the UK, I have held Executive and Head Chef positions at a number of Cornwall's most prestigious hotels and restaurants, including being the Training and Development Chef at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall, in its inaugural year. I have managed to pick up a few accolades on the way including being named as one of the top 10 female chefs in the UK, in The Independent on Sunday and some AA rosettes too.
Several publications have been kind enough to put me in print including Yes Chef, Her (NZ), Food Magazine, Flavour, Cornwall Today, Inside Cornwall magazines, the West Briton and not forgetting Four Lanes' Starling News. I have also dabbled in food writing, with feature articles for the Western Morning News and Home Farmer Magazine. With featured recipes in the Great Cornish Food Book and the Great Cornish Fish Book. I am keen to write more...
I have demonstrated at food festivals in Cornwall including the Great Cornwall Food Festival, Falmouth Oyster, Boscastle, Porthleven and Newlyn Fish Festivals, as well as a number of corporate events. I will admit to the odd appearances on TV also, including cooking native oysters with Matt Baker on Countryfile.
So that's work. In my spare time I enjoy the tranquil restorative nature of home and the garden. Being buffetted about on a blustery coastal walk, foraging, exploring nature and historical ruins is a real treat, especially up in Scotland. We also brave the elements to tend to our chickens, grow our own fruit and vegetables, make cider, wines, preserving and the list goes on.... life in Cornwall is busy; it's busy but definitely a good life X