Our story is one of love, travel, airports and a bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Back in 2006, whilst licking some emotional wounds, I flew from my home in Marrakech to London in support of my best pal from the south of France, a fellow Brit, who at the tender age of fifty was launching his new career as a rock star. Of course his first gig was at the Royal Albert Hall. The concert was great and we’re all off the Baglioni Hotel for the after party. Lola is in town too to support G, as she was great childhood friends with K, who was G’s girlfriend.
Lola and I see other across the room…
Of course I’ll join her in Costa Rica, especially as gastronomy seems to travel so well.
Lola’s path began in London where she started as a journalist, before working as a scenic artist decorating and painting sets on movies. After that, she became art director, then creative director at the Telegraph, UK. During this time she also studied antiques. Lola arrived in Costa Rica thirty two years ago and began bringing beautiful architectural and artisanal pieces from Asia and Europe to the country.
My own route was equally circuitous, having started serious cooking at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxford with M. Blanc. I won M.O.G.B Meilleur Ouvrier de Grande Bretagne, Young Chef of the Year whilst working with M. Blanc, who then kindly ferried me out to Paris to work for M. Joel Robuchon at the iconic Jamin Restaurant. I was the first English chef to work for him and spent two marvelous years there, eventually becoming his Sauce Chef. Back to London, a cameo for Marco Pierre White, as his head chef at Harveys, before opening my own restaurant Pied-a-Terre with my restaurant manager pal, David Moore. We won one Michelin star in the first year and a second three years later. It was obviously time to leave, and my peregrinations around the globe included restaurants, pop-ups and consultancies in far flung places such as Cannes, France, where I was the first British chef to win a Michelin star in the country, New Delhi, Marrakech and Moscow. Now together in wonderful Costa Rica and hoping to make new friends through sharing our story in the aptly named Neat & Chaos.