I used to be one of those guys you see on Masterchef, you know, the ones that are stuck in corporate jobs but love cooking so much they apply to go on a TV show, only to be humiliated when their chocolate fondant is so solid it breaks Gregg Wallace's teeth. Except I didn't choose the TV route to see if I could make it in a professional kitchen. I did what sensible people do and retrained at a reputable cookery school.
I did my training at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London where I ended up winning the Laurent Perrier Award for Best All Round Student. Not sure how that happened but I must have nailed my chocolate fondant. Maybe I should have gone on Masterchef after all. On leaving Leiths I went to work as Sous Chef at Lantana, a new Australian café where my baking received high praise from none other than the Standard's Fay Maschler, before leaving the restrictive world of restaurant cookery to move into teaching with my own company, Dining Class. I was subsequently offered the opportunity to manage the Divertimenti Cookery School in London where I learnt all about running cookery schools, before joining the formidable organisation that is the Women's Institute, as head of their cookery school in Oxfordshire, where I worked until the end of 2015.
I am now a full-time freelance cookery tutor based in Bristol, working with students of all ages and abilities. In November 2013 I was named Best Tutor at the British Cookery School Awards 2013.
I currently teach a variety of subjects, including technique-led courses such as Knife Skills, Fish Preparation and Patisserie, courses on international cuisines including Moorish and Middle Eastern, French, Spanish, Italian, South East Asian, and Japanese, and occasion-led courses such as Dinner Party Cookery, 30 Minute Meals, and Canape and Petits Fours workshops. Although I still spend most of my time at the WI, I also work at a number of different cookery schools around the country.
I regularly give cookery demonstrations to large groups of food lovers, and have demonstrated at events such as the BBC Good Food Show, and festivals such as the Wallingford Food Festival.
I am often invited to give speeches to large (1000+) audiences to inspire them to continue to develop their own cookery skills, and I have been invited to work with young cooks, speaking at school assemblies, and judging cookery competitions for Rotary and other organisations. I continue to work with primary schools through my work for Waitrose, where I teach hands on classes for local schools in Cheltenham.