I’ve always loved cooking; when I was a youngster I was always in the kitchen with my mum making a mess and having fun. She was a really good cook, especially at puddings - she made the best meringues in the world!

I grew up in Hammersmith and went to St Paul’s Girls’ School, then when I was 20 I decided to go to cooking school, which was ok…if a bit old French-style!  It wasn’t until I started working in my first restaurant that I got all fired up and realised that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life: professional kitchens are full-on, exciting, creative and full of vibrant characters...just like the Teaching Kitchen at St James!

I’ve also enjoyed other bits that have come my way: I’ve written 8 books and am starting a new one – a proper kids recipe book of my own (not Enid Blyton’s!). I like doing telly from time to time but wouldn’t want to do it all the time as it’s a bit of an unreal world. I’m also patron of the Fairtrade Foundation, a charity that makes sure that farmers growing ingredients like tea, sugar and chocolate get paid fairly for it. I’ve always done quite a lot of other charity work and a few years ago got the MBE medal from the Queen to say thanks.

My daughters (Delilah & Marnie) and I live in Shepherd’s Bush with Mo & Cloudy (fluffy cats), Nutty & Lucy (guineas), Emmeline & Mikey (sea snails) and Bob the fish.

I love teaching at my daughters’ school and I hope they like it too!

What attracted you to St James?

I first came to know St James as a parent, deciding to send my daughters there because of its children’s happiness first approach. Kindness ranks pretty much top of the qualities I think are key in life, and the way St James teaches children to be, think, interact, appreciate and give back to the world was a winner for me.

What makes St J’s education stand out?

St James Prep has, I think, got just the right balance of learning, fun, exercise and encouraging children’s social and wordly skills to develop. It’s an “open your eyes and look around you” approach, rather than being blinkered about life and our planet.

What strikes you about St J’s pupils?

That they are themselves, not pushed into being something that they’re not. Confident, happy and supported.

And they all seem to like cooking!