Coming from a foodie family, I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a chef. Dad loves his seafood. Quite often we’d have crabs in the kitchen sink of a Saturday morning, waiting to be rustled up into a fabulous, tasty dish.
My mum was a professional cook and watching her in the kitchen was a real inspiration.
After leaving school in fifth year, I signed up for Tante Marie Culinary Academy in Woking where mum trained.
When I finished my diploma, I decided to become a private chef rather than working in restaurants.
My job took me all over the world. I worked in a ski chalet, then for a French family in their Cannes summer home.
Then I moved on to work for a catering company in Edinburgh, doing directors’ lunches, functions and private parties.
I was never short of work. Most of my clients came to me through word of mouth. A move to London saw me join law firm Travers Smith, catering for in-house functions, lunches and dinners.
I loved it but it could be intensely busy and, after six years, I decided to take a break and trained in alternative therapy. I learned and practised acupuncture and reflexology.
I met my husband Glenn in London. We moved back to Edinburgh where I became a stay-at-home mum for a few years.
I always missed cooking and when our children, Callum, now 12, Sophie, 11, and Angus, 9, were old enough, I went back to work.
Not long after, I got a call from my sister-in-law, a chef in Dubai. She had been offered a job cooking on the set of Star Trek Beyond, but couldn’t do it so she asked if I fancied it.
It was three weeks out in Dubai during filming, serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner to Chris Pine, who played Captain James T. Kirk.
If I’m honest, at the time I had no idea who he was. But I knew it would be a great experience and opportunity, so after sorting out child care, I agreed to do it. Within two weeks, I was on a flight out. I worked with Chris all day – and when I got there was asked to prepare meals for Idris Elba, who portrayed alien reptile Krall, too. It was a crazy-busy couple of weeks, but it was a lot of fun.
My day would start at Chris’s hotel, where I would use the main kitchen to prepare his breakfast. Poached eggs and bacon were his favourite, with a green smoothie. Then it was on to the set to rustle up lunch, dinner and snacks. Filming was intense, the actors worked 12-hour days, so it was important they got the right food.
On the first day, I realised there was no cooking equipment on set, so I had to run around sourcing a grill and a plug-in hob.
I had to come up with all my own menus and would ensure Chris and Idris were happy with what I was making.
My day began at 4.30am and I would often still be working after the sun went down.
I was also tasked with sourcing all my own ingredients so found myself dashing to the supermarket in between meals to stock up. In the Dubai traffic, that is no mean feat!
Idris had lots of make-up and a big costume, so he would eat from takeaway boxes in his trailer. I didn’t have much interaction with him.
But Chris and I chatted lots and had a few good laughs. He might be a Hollywood star but, working with him, you realise he’s just a down-to-earth guy.
There were no diva requests. All I was asked was to avoid garlic – he doesn’t do garlic.
In fact, he was even brave enough to suggest a few alterations to my menu!
After that, I had the confidence to set up on my own as a personal chef, doing functions, private events, kids’ cooking parties and life-skills classes for teenagers.
I absolutely love it.
A few years ago, I got a call from one of the production staff on T2, the Trainspotting sequel. They needed a chef for the weekend.
Of course, it was being filmed in my home city so I was happy to take on the job.
I was just cooking for anyone on set that day. Jonny Lee Miller was there, and Kelly Macdonald. Robert Carlyle came up to me, shook my hand and said the lunch I had cooked was the best meal he had ever had on set.
Thankfully, I have managed to remain professional and not get starstruck. But my kids do love me telling stories about the day I cooked for famous people.
And it’s a nice thing to add to my CV.