I eventually trained as a chef and set up my own catering business in London which I ran for sixteen years. This was followed by a new career as an international freelance private chef as well as a food writer - but I kept colliding with serious internal contradictions because I was increasingly fascinated by the role which food plays in human health and well-being and how the dishes I cooked for my clients might be affecting the way they felt and lived their lives. This constant personal controversy led in due course to three gruelling grinding years of training in naturopathic nutrition run by the prestigious College of Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Brighton.
The knowledge and insight which I have acquired from my years in the kitchen as well as my extensive nutritional studies have resulted in the development of a two-pronged personal approach to health and lifestyle: the food we eat must bring joy and pleasure, but it must also nourish and support us throughout our lives.
My cosmopolitan childhood guaranteed a lifelong love of food and a deep interest in the cuisines of the world. I was brought up in Mexico and steeped in its intensely flavoured, palate-tingling aromatic cooking from a very early age.
I have vivid memories of a kitchen heady with the pungent smell of chilli, onions and coriander; of tasty tortas stuffed with chicken, refried beans and guacamole in my school snack box; of steaming, savoury enchiladas or tacos for lunch – although it could just as easily be shepherd’s pie.
Sunday was always celebrated with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding – and having been educated at an international school, further gastronomic adventures were on offer at friends’ houses where I was introduced to pig’s trotters with parsley vinaigrette and quiche lorraine,
moussaka andfelafel, blinis dripping with butter, chicken in peanut sauce or cooked in beer, prawns with pineapple or in paella, lamb with almonds and prunes, and pasta dishes baked in the oven – and from this kaleidoscope of flavours and experiences, a lifelong love and excitement about food was born.
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