The kitchen has played a crucial, constant and central role in my life for as long as I can remember….

From the early years of standing on a chair so I could help my grandma make her famous orange and lemon sponge cakes for Sunday afternoon tea, to the teenage years of making cheese on toast and burning the porridge, then onto the terrifying formal training of Le Cordon Bleu in London, where it seemed I  could only do wrong as I bungled the french terms and flustered over my aspic glaze.

After that daunting Cordon Bleu stint I was unleashed into the poor unsuspecting world as a ‘private chef’ cooking in stately homes, ski chalets and on Mediterranean yachts. This was a huge learning curve which cajoled me into some sort of cook. Armed with these  few years of  traveling and worldly experiences I was back in London cooking in dining rooms and catering for fashionable London parties. I turned an enormous career corner when I got a proper office job (as my mother in law would say) as a rising apprentice at Good Housekeeping Magazine. I was thrust into a magical world of photography studios, copy deadlines, departmental meetings, scary editors and the cut throat world of ‘womens’ magazines’. I know I was only in the cookery department but I was completely in my element, at last.. the drama.. the tension…! I had found my place… I stayed at Good Housekeeping for seven years until I rose up the ranks to Cookery Editor. I was hugely grateful for those years as I gained so much experience, unfortunately food magazines do not have the same head count today, so there is less space for apprentices. Which has left a huge gap in the world of magazine recipe writing.

After a whole heap of washing up, my cooking career turned mildly domestic as I concentrated on bringing up baby (who is now a big baby of 12.) Whilst this took up most of my mummy brain cells, I couldn’t be content with just being a stay at home mum, oh no, whilst breast feeding I remember discussing my next freelance job with the phone stuck under my chin, I was hugely driven to keeping my career as a food stylist and working in TV, commercials and food magazines going. I think I have been so lucky to have combined the two fairly successfully (see below for child rearing proof) and have worked pretty constantly as a freelancer whilst still being very much a hands on mum.

Well, I’ve been versatile to say the least. I’ve written my own cook books No Fuss Suppers, Children’s Parties and Party Food, I’ve had work published in many food publications and newspapers, as well as worked as a Commercials Food Stylist on Dominoes, Pizza Hut, Sainsbury’s, Aldi to name a few. I’ve been the kitchen slave for the high and mighty as their ‘on set’ right hand girl such as Gordon Ramsay, Raymond Blanc, Manu Feidel, John Burton Race and a whole host of other ‘celebrity chefs’  (who have all been charming.. I would like to add!)  I also spent 4 years working as part of a team as the Food Advisor for the LOVE FOOD HATE WASTE developing strategies to help people to waste less food and giving them enticing recipes and food photography for the website.

(above copyright Katie Quinn Davies, fish pie and pudding table)

Now fate has taken me and my family to the other side of the world to Australia, where I am now carving out a fantastic new life and career as my son turns into a teenager and I turn to the popular pastime of FOOD BLOGGING for the first time!

I feel breathless thinking about the countless meals I have cooked, the horrendous kitchen catastrophes at the beginning of my career to the gob smacking, huge triumphant successes which seem to override the bad memories, like childbirth!

CAROLINE’S SECRET KITCHEN will be a record of the all the wonderful HOME MADE recipes I have cooked, the secrets I have learnt from the many masters I’ve worked alongside and the fond food memories of places, enticing smells and the amazing people that I have come across over the years. I would love to hear about your FOOD MEMORIES and recipes that have been passed down through your families. I can’t wait to share with you the recipes that have been important in my life.

I will  take you behind the scenes in STYLING STORIES as I show you what it’s like to be a food stylist.. often a lot of standing around on one foot….see below.. (copyright Katie Quinn Davies)

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I also have a penchant for anything old, so pardon me if I use this blog to share my FAVOURITE THINGS ..  vintage and retro kitchenware and any cool gadgets I come accross that put a smile on my face, make my life easier, are eco freindly and look great in kitchen. Such as these retro tea towels and this vinyl record cake stand from http://www.notonthehighstreet.com. And not forgetting I will be reporting from the cafes, restaurants and pop up restaurants that take my eye on my travels in SECRET PLACES.

With all the cooking experiences I have had over the years I think for me now the most important issue is ensuring that we have enough good food for the future and that what we eat is safe and not wasted. I feel strongly about animal welfare in particular and amongst the joy of indulging ourselves with delicious food we have to shop responsibly, store our food so it lasts and manage our kitchens so we minimise food waste. A big part of my blog will be talking about the FOOD FIGHTS  I would like you to join me in! Such as these three FOOD FIGHTS for starters..

The End of The Line.. is a film that shows first hand how the effects of our global love affair with fish as food. It looks at the imminent extinctions of bluefin tuna, brought on by increasing western demand for sushi and the profound implications of a future world with no fish that would bring certain starvation.

Millions of paper cups are thrown away every day as we feed our every increasing coffee takeaway addiction, get the same experience but use the eco friendly ‘I am not a paper cup..’ from http://www.notonthehighstreet.com it looks like the paper ones you get from take-away cafes. However, this one is reusable being a double-walled thermal porcelain cup with silicone top. Smarter and Sassier..!

The Australian Egg Corp (AECL) are trying to exploit consumer compassion at the expense of hens, by allowing more than 10 times the number of hens on ‘free range’ farms than current guidelines recommend. This would turn ‘free range’ into just another term for factory farming. Having rescued four ex battery hens, I know how important it is for them to have plenty of space to scratch the earth and clean their feathers in dust baths.

I’m looking forward to meeting you here and sharing with you my photographs, FOOD MEMORIES, STYLING STORIES, FOOD FIGHTS, my HOME MADE recipes, FAVOURITE THINGS and SECRET PLACES. Plus I’m happy to share with you some friendly food advice on ways I cut my bills, rescue food from the bin and general kitchen management for the modern household whilst not costing our precious earth it’s life.

Like me also on my new face book page caroline’s secret kitchen as my new Aussie blogging adventure begins here..

Caroline x

Image Credits and details for this post 

  1. Vintage inspired regency tea cup £13.41 from  http://www.notonthehighstreet.com   Caroline’s portrait photographed by Kelvin Cantlon, Poached Peach,Pomegranate and Sweet Peas – Caroline Marson stylist shot by Simon Brown for Marie Clare Magazine and Rare Tuna Salad by Caroline Marson stylist shot by Stuart West
  2. Lamb Shanks with Cinnamon Sweet Potato Mash, Caroline Marson Stylist shot by Vanessa Levis for Sunday Life, Red Velvet Whoppie Pies Caroline Marson recipe and stylist for Delicious Magazine shot by Karen Thomas, Caroline Marson and Good Housekeeping team on location in Turkey shot by Laurie Evans for Good Housekeeping Magazine
  3. Freddie by Dad
  4. Easter Cakes and Biscuits by Caroline Marson, prop styled by Hannah Simmons for John Lewis, Rose and Hazelnut Giant Meringue Cake by Caroline Marson recipe and stylist for Boden Calalogue, Caroline Marson food stylist for Taste Festival Flyer, Caroline Marson food prep for Sunday Life Magazine shot by Katie Quinn-Davies and Styled by Bhavani Konings. Find the recipes at  http://www.dailylife.com.au
  5. Behind the scenes of Caroline Marson on Sunday Life Shoot by Katie Quinn-Davies
  6. Retro style cotton tea towels $10.12 AUD http://www.notonthehighstreet.com, Vinyl Record Cake Stand $43.86 AUD  http://www.notonthehighstreet.com, Puttenham Garden Gate and Jubilee Trifle shot by Joss Ashton, Regency Tea Set from http://www.notonthehighstreet.com. Alice in Wonderland inspired Milk Jellies and Sweet things recipes and styling by Caroline Marson for Boden Catalogue.
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