From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a chef. My mother is a phenomenal cook and I learnt all about meat, fish and game from her – even now she won’t let me in her kitchen!
Always singing, I won a bursary to study opera for two years in Florence, Italy where I also worked at Masaccio’s restaurant and learnt to cook over 100 types of pasta! I've also trained with Conran at Cantina Del Ponte in London and cooked for places such as 10 Downing Street, The Foreign Office and The European Cardiff Summit.
In 2003 I won the Britain’s Best Barbecuer contest and that same year worked with the Kansas City team at Slaughterhouse Five.
I've won Food Champion of the Year and the World BBQ Championship and am regularly asked to judge many competitions around the world as well as advising at the Craft Guild of Chefs and the Seafish Industry Authority.
And one of my proudest achievements? I wrote The Haynes BBQ Manual which is now available in over 75 countries around the world!
My favourite item to barbecue...
Fish! Because you can char-grill, steam in foil, wrap in salted vine leaves or cook on wood (planking) – the options are endless! Mackerel and sardines work well. All you need is great seasoning, oil and the end taste is fantastic. Octopus is brilliant and literally takes just two minutes to cook. Perfect with a tomato sauce marinade, a few chillies, a bit of brown sugar and Worcestershire Sauce.
It's not just meat...
There are some real unsung barbecue heroes such as sweetcorn, aubergines and courgettes. And don’t forget desserts; bananas, peaches and pineapple are fabulous on the barbecue. Wrap a banana in foil and place on the grill. When it’s soft to the touch, slice it open and pour in a generous measure of Irish cream. Simple, yet delicious.
For easy, innovative and flavoursome BBQ ideas made simple, why not try my little pots of BIG flavour.