About Me

IN A NUTSHELL:

 

I am a passionate, straight-talking, award-winning Head Chef from New Zealand living and working in the Cairngorms, Scotland.

 

Owner of The Mountain Cafe, Aviemore, I’m a regular contributor to BBC Scotland’s Kitchen Cafe, a show which promotes the sheer joy of growing and cooking your own food – an ethos very much shared by me and the rest of the team at the Mountain Cafe.

 

I launched my first book The Mountain Cafe Cookbook; A kiwi in the Cairngorms in February 2017.  It sold out within the first month of publication and is now on it’s second print run.  

Order a copy of the book now

  

 


THE LONGER STORY

EARLY YEARS:

 

My passion for food started the minute I could put it in my mouth. I was never going to be a fussy child or an unhealthy one.  I grew up on my grandparents farm in Temuka, South Island, New Zealand.  I know everyone says his or her grandparents are the best, but mine really were! They taught me everything about love and respect and about sitting and enjoying food as a family.

 

 

At a young age I found solace in food and cooking. I loved helping Nana and Granddad make their green tomato pickle or scraping new potatoes with Granddad at the old barbecue table in the garden. Flipping pikelets and sitting down to a huge plate with raspberry jam and whipped cream was heavenly.  Home reared, home grown and home cooked food was the foundation and along with the occasional trip to George’s, a Swiss German-style restaurant in nearby Timaru, by the age of five I had already found my calling in life.

 

 

TRAINING:

 

 

I went to Aoraki Polytechnic to do my chef exams; the tutors were an awesome bunch, but one in particular changed my life. Lindsay Bennett was everything I dreamt of being in a chef. He was smart, hardworking, talented beyond belief and his knowledge was mind blowing. Lindsay completely inspired me and made me realise there was a whole world out there and that I would never stop learning about food.

 

 

TRAVEL:

At the age of 20, after winning gold in the New Zealand Culinary Fare as part of the polytechnic culinary team, I managed to scrape together enough cash for a one-way ticket to the UK – and here the adventure really began.

For the next few years I worked my ass off, in good jobs and bad. I experienced everything from Michelin-starred hotels to London fine dining and after this crazy and intense time, I decided to move on and go travelling. I gave up my room in London, loaded my backpack, knives and whites, bought a train ticket and headed North. I ate my way around England and Scotland, and eventually found myself in Aviemore looking for a weekend of skiing.  Three years later I was settled in the Cairngorms, married to a Scotsman and about to take over the Mountain Café in Aviemore.  Who’d have thought it!

 

 

THE MOUNTAIN CAFE:

   

 

Opening the cafe was a huge learning curve and in the first year we made a massive financial loss and I almost lost the place. But with a lot of hard work, good advice, sleepless nights, determination and a passion that somehow remained with me throughout the whole journey we finally got to the place that is now the MC Aviemore.

 

 

MY FIRST BOOK:

  

The process of writing the Mountain Cafe Cookbook has been…

 

Contact Me