11 years later Tina can be found in clients’ homes cooking dinner parties, doing a fair few weddings and recently offering delivered heat at home meals.
I like to cook with vegetables, fish, loads of herbs and spices. I don’t really eat or cook too much meat. I love food that is vibrant, full of freshness; food that seems awake with big flavours and lots of zing. Generally I tend to enjoy summer ingredients the best. At home I like all the Asian vibes but professionally I lean much more into the Middle Eastern palate.
I was born in Scotland but the growing up question is a little trickier! My Dad was a restless man who always had some entrepreneurial scheme in action. Consequently when I left home at 17, I had moved 27 times to various villages, towns & counties within the UK.
This is a tough one… I was recently reminded when a woman I went to school with for one year in 1981 (see above!) contacted me via Facebook. I remembered Anne Thompson well, her Mum used to ring a bell when dinner was ready and I could picture Anne’s face with a piece of her Mum’s home baked cake held up to her mouth… The slice was huge and I was envious. I think because I moved so many times, food has always been the thing that grounds me, in my childhood it was constant, plentiful and actually for the 1970s, fairly exotic… We ate pasta when most of my friends were having dried pork chops & mash! In terms of a specific dish, perhaps early trips to France, warm croissants in waxy bags from a local boulangerie, white unsalted better, apricot jam and UHT ice cold chocolate milk. Excursions to the French hypermarkets were the holiday highlights.
I had a few friends here and visited fairly often and loved it. When my son was 11….perfect time to move here for the Secondary school experience.
I moved to Brighton in 2010 and signed up to do a degree in culinary arts, which I loved but the course ended up being only for one year (long story). One of the modules was business planning. I worked out the figures for a stall at a farmers market. My background before moving here was in hospitality but always front of house, but my limited childcare options here meant that was not a viable option. So I decided to put the business plan into action and started selling lunch time offerings from a gazebo in Churchill Square and Upper Gardner Street. It was an amazing shop window and helped me to build a bit of an audience. I was living in a great flat on Brunswick Square, following a couple of supper club hostesses in London on Twitter and thought ‘I could do that’, so did.
I really enjoy and country walking, got into it last year in Italy, I am no expert but it really gives me a sense of calm. Of course I love eating out but recently I have been reminded probably like many of us how special it is to be home with the people you love, to look after and cook for them.
The first night of my supper club. Not really from the kitchen, guests arrived and my cousin Wendy was meeting and greeting. She came into the kitchen and said ‘you have to come and say hello’. Walking into my own sitting room to 21 seated strangers, waiting to be fed was terrifying but bloody exhilarating!
Turning up to do a pop up at a church hall and the oven door was broken, we had to use a lots of clingfilm and tin foil to make do and mend.
Anything brunch with a bit of an upscale. So maybe toast with hummus, watercress, poached eggs & dukkah or sweet potato slices baked, roasted tomatoes & field mushrooms with a blob of chilli jam.
I would have liked to have been a social worker or a psychotherapist. I am really interested in people and how we experience and manage our lives.
I need silence! I live alone and really need my own time to not talk.
I think the plant based way of eating will become totally normalised. It is easy in our Brighton bubble to think it already is. I wish that food was part of our education system, learning to cook and feed yourself really is level one on the self care chart, so so important yet so neglected at the moment.
I have some ideas in the brew… a little too early to share.
When cooking for myself I like meals for me that take minimal effort. It’s useful to know how to knock something up from a store cupboard or fridge raid. An omelette is a 5 minute meal with a bit of any cheese crumbled in for good measure, or a quick pasta made from frying a few tomatoes, slices of courgette, garlic, chilli flakes in some olive oil with a squeeze of lemon and a handful of spinach stirred in.
Start with the seasons, pick my veg and then either get my books out or look at restaurant menus to see what people are cooking. Eating out is of course the best offer for inspiration.
At a modern restaurant called Papillion in Paris. I went with my Mum, which now that she has died makes the memory all that more special. The food was light and packed with flavour. I had crème fraîche sorbet for the first time and make that lots now. I like meals that directly inspire my own cooking.
Oh my what a question, the food scene here has massively shaken up over the past decade and to choose is so hard. We are now very lucky here with the scene and all the talent and hardworking people in this City. The Gingerman holds a very special place in my heart, along with Moshimo both my Mum’s favourites and we lunched their loads. Experiencing Duncans cooking at Little Fish Market is beyond a treat… wonderful.
Tlaloc, Plateau and med are always spot on. I really enjoy the cooking and vibes at Ciarans’ which really reminds me of the local restaurants I worked in London in the mid 90s when the modern British cookery scene was blossoming. I have recently enjoyed a couple of lovely meals at Burnt Orange, enjoying the sunny terrace and seafood of both The Salt Room and Riddle & Finns. Love a thali at The Chilli Pickle or a Pad Thai and side of morning glory at Unithai. My most visited places are Moshimo for agedashi tofu, veg tempura, mushroom miso soup, Bincho for everything but always the Korean cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms, sea bream tempura, and asparagus & bacon, Sunbirds Deli for their vegan mezze and Smorl’s Houmous & Falafel Bar for all their falafel stuff but also their sambar soup with idli.
Yes, I really hope for the future of restaurants and the hospitality industry at large that customers appreciate how much hard work has gone into keeping these businesses afloat during these past couple of years. Restaurants are a massive part of what makes Brighton so special and they need bums on seats and for people to view a booking as a commitment. We also need to expect some price increases, be mindful of staff shortages but mostly go along and have a bloody good time and keep these wonderful places open.
Published: 18th January 2022