What is the name of the current restaurant you work at and how long have you worked there?
– Jacqueline Wise Private Dining – 8 Years
– Kelmsley Catering & Events – 5 Years
Give a brief overview of your career.
I run four successful businesses across the events and hospitality sector, two in food, one in entertainment and another in floristry. Always having had a passion for people, I graduated from Reading University in history, working first in journalism then in sales and marketing. Despite financial success, I soon felt unfulfilled by an uncreative and repetitive work life; living in London I craved my country roots. I decided to redefine what being successful meant for me, and designed a new life for myself as a food and events professional.
I made a huge decision and re-trained as a chef, completing the Cordon Bleu Diploma and Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts from The Confederations of Tourism and Hospitality, in 2013. I worked as an agency chef in pubs and restaurants across the South of the UK, while studying and while building my own client base. Since then I have worked at Michelin-starred restaurants, Buckingham Palace and The Ritz London, before setting up my own limited company Kelmsley.
I won the Channel 4 TV show Win It, Cook It with Simon Rimmer, worked for Channel 4 on The Taste with Nigella Lawson and I also competed in MasterChef: The Professionals. I hold regular pop-up restaurants and cookery workshops, and offer private dining and cookery lessons at home with her brand Jacqueline Wise Chefs. I also run Kelmsley, which caterers for a select number of weddings and larger bespoke events each year. My businesses earn me a generous salary each year, while allowing an excellent work life balance, so I can work 3 to 4 days a week and spend plenty of time with my young family, travelling and also writing my upcoming cookbook.
Where did you learn your skills/culinary education?
Tante Marie Culinary Academy, and on the job too!
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Cooking is fun! I love to inspire my fellow foodies to indulge in culinary experiences to bring more joy into their own life and others, and expand their cooking and eating repertoire. As a chef I have learnt many valuable tips and tricks along my journey, and I love to share these, whether through cooking for a private event, teaching cookery, or via my videos and recipes online on my social media. Real life, real food, real events, real recipes, real people and real joy. That is what I live for! Variety is the spice of life which is what my work offers me, and sharing good food makes people happy and brings them together. I love my work as I find good food, means good mood!
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Anything where I have grown or foraged for any of the ingredients, yum!
How do you come up with new dishes?
I am inspired by local and seasonal food, travelling, food trends and my own personal taste.
Who was your greatest influence?
My mother, a creative cook who could always come up with something delicious even when the fridge, cupboards and garden looked less than appetising!
What is your favourite cookbook?
Together: A Community Cookbook by The Hubb Community Kitchen and HRH The Duchess of Sussex.