I didn’t want to be a chef.
But according to my old English father, that’s what nice young girls “should do”.
So he put me through the Cordon Bleu School in London where I learnt everything from patisserie to boulangerie under the wing of Madame le Blanc.
And in return I booked a flight to the Australian outback with no idea what I was going to do when I landed.
I spent the next two years bouncing around Australia between restaurants, shearing gangs, delicatessens, and festivals. I worked anywhere that would pay me and thankfully my limited experience with French cooking was warmly welcomed where spam and eggs was a national standard. For a while, life was pretty exciting. But that was about to change…
My dear old father convinced me to come back to England for my 21st birthday and it would be 30 years before I made it back to Australia.
When I got back I ended up working between restaurants and private events in the business district of Central London. This was a big change from the dust, humidity and heat of Australia. But it did mean I’d start to work for clients with some pretty demanding standards. Over the years I began working for more of London’s businessmen, Members of Parliament, and eventually I became a regular chef for the fancy events often frequented by members of the royal family.
And this type of catering has been what I’ve been doing ever since.
In 2006 we moved to Waipukurau, Central Hawkes Bay where I was the resident chef at Wallingford Lodge Homestead for 12 years. And now I run Charlotte’s Oven; quality catering for events up to 200 people including weddings, dinner parties, cocktail parties, lunches, and business functions across the Hawke’s Bay region.