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As the last chef to be apprenticed in the private kitchens at Blenheim Palace for the 11th Duke of Marlborough, I learned to cook classical British and French cuisine to the highest standard, using the best ingredients from Blenheim’s estate farm, gardens and game shoots, where members of the royal family were frequent visitors. My head chef and mentor at Blenheim (Michael Adams) taught me a deep and abiding respect for food, preparation, flavour, technical knowledge and presentation.I then went on to work as a pâtissier chef and then as part of a large brigade, where I worked on almost every station of professional kitchens.
Later on, as the first ever woman in the Merchant Navy to serve in the North Sea, I learned the value of cooking on a working ship, for 25 hungry and discerning sailors. After this, I joined the company’s sister ship and sailed across the Pacific, which introduced meto the fascinating world of international cuisine. After leaving the navy, I travelled independently, cooking my way around the world, from America to Europe, then Asia and Australia. I spent a good few years living in Brooklyn and working as a chef in Manhattan, which is where I gleaned a knowledge of flavours and technique first-hand, which I like to incorporate into my Chef le Grande business.
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