In October 2009, whilst living in Seville in southern Spain, I fell in love with a German man who lived in Freiburg.
I’d never been to Germany before but regardless, I packed my bag and made my way to the South West of Germany. After a couple of years teaching English, working behind a bar, and intensively learning German, I got offered the opportunity to start up and run a vegetarian and vegan restaurant in the former Mexican establishment El Paso, which we renamed El Haso.
There was only one small thing. I had never actually stepped foot in a restaurant kitchen before.
I’d been a passionate hobby cook for over 10 years, and, I’d always been excited to try new foods, learn about where they come from, and then get in the kitchen experimenting. Deep down I knew that this was a true calling for me. So taking the lead from my heart, I jumped in and ran with the opportunity.
One of the most important things for me here in Freiburg, has always been that I can buy my fruit and veggies direct from the farmer at the local markets. Over the years I have built up wonderful relationships with a couple of local farmers. Regardless of the season, there are so many delicious and vibrant vegetables and fruits, it never ceases to amaze me what can be grown here. This is the foundation for all my cooking endeavours.
I left El Haso to start up my own Kindergarten and Event Catering Company – Kraut und Rueben Catering. I provided lunches for Kindergarten der Kulturen. My focus was always on creating inspiring and nourishing vegetarian dishes, completely seasonal and regional all 12 months of the year.
Alongside running my own catering business, I began giving cookery classes to kids and teenagers at Bensels Kochschule. Not long after that, I also started helping out at the school in the evenings. During those evenings I started to realise how much I didn’t know yet about the basics of cooking. How to properly chop an onion, or easily peel a garlic clove, or how much salt I should have in my pot of boiling water to blanch vegetables! It became very clear to me that I was missing the foundations in which I could build up on to refine my cooking skills.
I needed to become a qualified chef. To do so, I had to do an apprenticeship. But where? I was 30 and not your typical apprentice, so it seemed appropriate that I also didn’t do a ‘typical apprenticeship’. I started to train as a chef in June 2016 with Ben Kindler and Sebastian Bertram as my teachers at Bensels Kochschule.
Eventually I had to choose between providing Kindergarten meals and my apprenticeship, so I chose to finish my apprenticeship.
After 3 wonderful years at Bensels I had qualified as a Chef. It had been in so many ways the best job I’d ever had. Giving cooking classes, to children, teens and adults gives me so much joy. I really feel in my element and it rarely feels like work! But, it was time to move on and to gain some more experience.
My first post apprenticeship job took me to the edges of the Black Forest to work as a young chef in the restaurant Ösch Noir. After winning the Franz-Keller Förderpreis, I decided to leave Ösch Noir just 9 Months later, to go abroad and expand my horizons.
I took 6 months out to travel to Italy and India. Working in restaurants, taking part in cookery classes and discovering new ways to cook and prepare food.
After a short spell in Küchenschelle, I am now working at the Rudolf Steiner School in Basel, Switzerland, in their canteen. It really feels like the perfect place for me, where I can cook to my best ability and with enormous passion, and that food is greatly appreciated by pupils and teachers alike. If you’d like to see some of our dishes, follow me on Instagram!