Thank you so much for visiting my new website! Finally getting myself a web presence more than 3 years into my business might seem weird, but I guess it’s given me time to gain experience and photograph what I’ve been doing.
First things first: I’m absolutely loving being a vegan chef. It kind of crept up on me to be honest – I hadn’t planned to start a new business at the age of 50! It feels like this is what my life has been leading up to after so many years of enjoying the process of creating meat-free food. My first ever job was in a veggie cafe called Dappers in Henley-on-Thames. I was 14, had already been vegetarian for a couple of years and it was the perfect fit. I soon progressed from pot washing to learning to make some of the cakes and salads – some of the recipes I still make today.
I can’t remember a time when I haven’t cooked. I used to throw dinner parties for friends in 6th form (we thought we were the height of sophistication!) and I was probably one of the few university students who didn’t consume a single pot noodle during my 3 years of studying for my degree. I guess I’ve never been daunted by the thought of making food – and I truly believe that fear is what puts so many people off cooking. I’ve certainly made food which hasn’t been great over the years.. but that’s a massive part of learning to cook. I’m definitely a ‘wing it’ kind of girl.
I had several careers before landing in the food world (almost by mistake but I’ll come on to that!). My first job was working for an overseas aid agency, CARE International and I progressed from there to BBC Children in Need. Then followed a seven year stretch of working as a holistic therapist, before I took some time out to have my 2 children. Various part time jobs and businesses took me through until the kids got a bit more independent and then one day a friend suggested that I should ‘do something with my cooking’. Something just clicked and I organised a couple of pop-up supper evenings in a local cafe which went down really well. I then got an out of the blue phone call from a retreat asking if I could cater a weekend as their chef had fallen through at the last minute. I said yes..
Catherine and brother Chris baking Christmas cookies | 1972