The Chef

Gill Watson’s passion for food and cooking began at seventeen when she left home to spend a year on a Kibbutz.  Middle Eastern food intoxicated her – it was the antithesis of her mother’s overcooked beef and sloppy, tasteless vegetables.  Babaganoush, shakshuka, foules medames – the names were as exotic as the tastes.  She sampled everything and talked her way into both home and professional kitchens to discover how to re-create the dishes she loved.

Deep fried battered sheep’s brains in pitta bread from Cairo market still rate as one of Gill’s top ten food sensations.  Chicken feet with chilli and peanuts are also up there.  As is the lemon filo cake eaten in Corfu this year.  Gill has tried to make this cake twice and on both occasions it has turned out disastrously.

Gill fell into cooking rather than planned it.  Before cheffing she worked for a book publisher,  at an art gallery, and as an interior designer.  She has also spent a lot of time waitressing.  But cooking was always beckoning from the sidelines and when Gill was offered the chance to run her own restaurant in a boutique hotel in Devon she donned her oven gloves and grabbed it.

Gill taught Italian cookery at catering college and free-lanced for London’s premier outside events caterer, Rhubarb.  Working as a Private Chef was probably the most enjoyable period in Gill’s career as she could create grand dishes on a small scale without the restrictions of worrying about profit margins.

Writing committments and a very demanding family dictate that Gill  now only accepts cheffing commissions from friends or people who have found themselves in a fix – for instance if they have been let down by their wedding caterers a week before the big day.  Funerals for friends are always free of charge.

Of course, every chef has her price . . .

 

13 thoughts on “The Chef

  1. I found some similarities here, escaping from mother’s overcooked veg, and falling into catering – I fell into it professionally, but had wanted to pursue studies in it for a long time, but been hampered by bringing up two children alone. Your ‘family duties’ seem to have come at the opposite end of life from mine. Sure we have a lot to talk about!

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  3. Trying to contact Gill to ask her to speak to Soroptimist International of Blackburn (one club of an global international women’s service organisation) on her work in connection with foodbanks/food education etc. A friend heard her speak somewhere in the Burnley area recently and was most impressed. Please contact me, Gill!
    Anne jackson Programme Action Officer, SI Blackburn

    • Hi Celia, that’s an interesting offer. I do have a cookery school now but am intrigued to know more about yours. Could you e mail me some details on the attached g mail link?

  4. Hi Gill & Happy New Year
    we are a school and community centre in West London
    The children I teach are planning to set up their own cooperative using donated surplus food. This will be entirely run by children.
    They intend to sell veg boxes locally. The children did some research and came across your name! It would be great to talk more about ways we can get some advice from you about approaching stores/markets, be involved or work with you or find avenues for collecting surplus food through local businesses.
    I am very sure this will be very “news-worthy”, we could gain a lot of press/online & print. If you can make contact with us, I can send you the proposal the children have written.
    thanks in advance Lydia

    • Hi Lydia. Thanks for your message and of course I would love to speak to you about food waste and accessing fruit and veg for the children’s boxes. It sounds like a great idea. If you send me your email, I’ll reply so you have mine.

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