Saturday , January 25 2020
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Meet the writers

It was when I was studying for my French ‘A’ level that I first came upon the quote, ‘you should eat to live, and not live to eat’. Realising that I disagreed with this misanthropic advice, a life spent enjoying the delights of the table and the glass was inevitable. Originally from Hampshire, I came to Norfolk to study modern languages in 1988, and like many UEA graduates, decided to make Norwich my home after graduating. Since then, I have built a successful career in public relations, and have run my own PR consultancy since 2004. Alongside my day job, I have built a reputation for his food and drink writing, contributing to a number of newspapers and magazines. I am particularly passionate about persuading people to abandon convenience foods and rediscover the joy of cooking. While I don’t claim to be a chef, I am a talented home cook, and enjoy nothing better than spending time in my kitchen, creating delicious dishes for visitors to my home. I am also a qualified wine writer, holding the WSET Advanced Certificate, and regularly leads tastings in Norfolk, and runs a regular wine club which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2016. Aside from food and wine, my other passion is music. As a percussionist, I am often to be seen bashing away during conceI arts, performing regularly with a number of orchestras and ensembles, including the Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra and Taverham Brass Band. I am married to Becky, a primary school head teacher, and we live in Norwich with our cocker spaniel, Petrus.

Norfolk born and bred, I worked overseas and in London in human resources and business management before heading back to Norfolk to settle down. There nothing like living by the Norfolk coast to calm the mind. Indeed, having a cuppa after a walk on the beach with family and friends is one of the best ways to relax and unwind. I’ve always been a gardening enthusiast, ever since my uncle Albert would send me off to his garden with a jam jar to pick caterpillars from his cabbages when I was a child. Eventually, I was certified through the Royal Horticultural Society and now I enjoy getting my hands dirty as well as designing, working as a local TV gardening presenter and writing. I simply love all aspects of gardening and most of my time is consumed with it in one way or another. My own garden gets tended to as and when I have the odd minute spare, but my allotment is the place I go to really get stuck in – I wish I could spend more time there. I try to grow a range of different produce and experiment with different varieties each year. It’s never perfect but the satisfaction is second to none. Growing my own food invariably means I have to be able to cook. With so many fruit and vegetables available from the allotment, I always have baskets full of fresh produce ready to be made into something tasty and nutritious, so my husband and I do try to get creative with recipes. Whilst we love to try new, interesting and tasty dishes, one of my favourites is shepherd’s pie. It just can’t be beaten when the mash is made from your home-grown potatoes and the mince is full of your own fresh vegetables, especially after a day digging on the plot. I hope you love my kitchen garden recipes in the magazine, perhaps you will get a taste of the good life and be inspired to grow and cook your own!

I’ve lived in Norfolk since 2000 and love the fabulous food and drink the county produces and the variety of places to sample it. Whether it is Cromer crab, a pint of Woodforde’s, a pub lunch at The White Horse in Brancaster or discovering a fab breakfast venue (such as No 33 Café Bar in Norwich), I relish the notion that there will always be something new and innovative in this lovely county. As a writer, I’ve been a news reporter and feature writer for a number of years. I started my first job in my home town in South Lincolnshire in the days of clattering typewriters, copy-takers and phones with a dial rather than push buttons and in the years since have worked all over the country and contributed to various national titles and magazines. More recently, at the Eastern Daily Press, I worked as a feature writer, health correspondent and war correspondent during the noughties, as well as indulging my passion for travel and travel writing. India has long been a favourite destination and over the last 25 years I’ve explored virtually every corner of the sub-continent and it goes without saying that I love the cuisine – whether it is Indian street food, a vegetarian thali in Gujarat, or a curry in one of Norfolk’s fine Indian restaurants (and I do have a few favourites – Roti, Prince of India and the Merchants of Spice). One of the delights of travelling is experiencing the local cuisine and drink. Recent assignments have taken me to Morocco, Indonesia, Ontario, Arizona, the Cayman Islands, skiing in Switzerland and Austria and hiking in northern Italy, and to Turkey and Crete. I love staying in alpine hotels and dining in some of the mountain ski huts, but I do enjoy some of the world’s classier establishments – the Es Saadi Palace in Marrakech is a recent favourite, as is the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, while Bodysgallen Hall in Llandudno has a special place in the memory. But I also adore The Mistral at Maleme near Chania on Crete. I’m a huge fan of the Greek Islands and it’s a perfect bolt-hole for solo travellers, with stylish rooms and serving the most delicious Mediterranean cuisine. I’ve won a number of awards for my writing over the years including Feature Writer of the Year Award at the British Travel Press Awards. I’m also interested in history, particularly Norfolk’s maritime past, and also ghost-wrote Breeding Success, the autobiography of Norfolk dairy farmer Gavin Paterson, last year. Home is near Dereham and when I’m not travelling, or writing, I play squash at Barnham Broom, enjoy chess, all kinds of music and love to relax with my wife Sharon and daughters Laura (15) and Sarah (14) with a meal out at the array of splendid dining establishments Norfolk offers. I look forward to exploring, and discovering, many more as a contributing writer for Feast!

I am a gluten free and allergy friendly baker, consultant and accredited food safety and allergy trainer. Born in Norwich and having grown up on the outskirts, I now live in Great Witchingham with my partner and our two dogs. I found out that I couldn’t eat gluten when my children were young. They also had various food allergies so I have spent many years tweaking and developing real home cooked food which can be enjoyed by all, whatever the dietary requirement. Having a real passion for cooking made it easier to spend the hours needed in the kitchen for the trial and error process involved in making the family favourite meals gluten free. I now work to raise awareness for those in the same situation, helping make the transition to a gluten free life easier by running cookery classes, workshops for the newly diagnosed and accredited training for the food industry helping them understand allergens. I love to share my knowledge, experience and recipes and help those who can’t have gluten, or who have other dietary requirements, cook and enjoy the foods most take for granted. Recently my work has focused on reducing sugar in recipes and interesting ways to cook with vegetables to get children on a healthier food journey. Many children, when first diagnosed with Coeliac disease, have been ill for a while and become fearful of food when they find out it’s that which has made them poorly. I have developed a range of baking kits aimed at children who need to eat gluten/dairy or egg free to help restore a healthy relationship with food and build confidence while having fun cooking. As a volunteer committee member for the local Coeliac UK support group, I come into contact with many people who struggle to find recipes to cook, products to buy and places to eat. With my company, Your Gluten Freedom, I am looking to put an end to this by raising awareness and helping educate those who need help in this area. Providing not only an online directory of safe restaurants and cafes and one to one help and support, but also organising events for those who need to eat gluten free and those that want to provide gluten free food for their customers. I organised a large free from festival last October which celebrated and showcased more than 50 wonderful local producers, and hosted talks and cooking demonstrations from some of the county’s top free from chefs and people in the free from industry. And we’re looking forward to two events this year – watch this space.