The Story of a Gypsy Chef
To use the Romani term, I am a Posh Rat; a person of mixed Romany and non-Romany ancestry. My paternal Grandfather’s Mother, Agnes France was a Welsh Romany Gypsy who journeyed from Merthyr Tidfil to Birmingham, where the family ‘settled in bricks’. Having researched into my ancestry, I found many a colourful stories that feature in my blog and inspire amazing traditional recipes.
My childhood memories are filled with food, my mother growing much of what we ate. From an early age, I spent my weekends cooking with my extended family, pickling with my Granddad, baking cakes with my Aunties and always making the all-important gravy for the Sunday dinner with my Grandma. Therefore decision to become a professional chef was easily made. My main stay in one kitchen was the Oxo Tower Brasserie, and here I had the opportunity to work with a diverse stable of international chefs, with whom I shared many exciting, inspiring, and stressful moments. But as I looked round the kitchen, I saw all these chefs with their own unique culinary inclination then looking to myself I realised I need to find my own. This was a big step in the conception of The Gypsy Chef.
As I have grown as a chef, I realized that my Romany roots was reflected in my cooking style. I like nothing more than moving from place to place and sampling and mastering the local dishes. Soups and stews have become an increasingly significant part of my repertoire, and the act of preserving has become more commonplace in my armoury. My cooking style often reflects the humble beginnings of my forefathers.
I am now starting up on the Road as The Gypsy Chef becomes a portable catering solution! Its very exciting and with some kushti bok (good luck) and hard work, it will be a great project.
I am a Trustee and work with The Gypsy Council, something I am very proud of. The Gypsy Council is an organisation charged with helping the travelling community with the social, welfare and civil rights issues that arise from time to time. We also work with a wide range of groups in order to build a better future for the Roma of Europe.
I am about to begin my own great adventure. I am currently working on the development of media projects that will tell the story of my Romani Heritage through food and take me on a journey of rediscovery.
If you have any questions about my heritage, my cooking or me, then please get in touch! I would love to hear from you.