I never really know how much people want to read in these sections or if it’s a part of the site that gets fast forwarded.  So instead of a long, waffling life history I shall simply put 20 things that may or may not, be of interest about me.

  • I am the youngest of four children – 2 sisters, one brother – and our late mother would always recite the four names in descending order, as if not to exclude or forget one. Rita, David, Frances, Julie.
  • I was named after my mothers musical heroine, Julie Andrews. She is Julie Elizabeth Andrews and me – Julie Elizabeth Friend
  • I was born in Violet Lane, Croydon – thus my pornstar name (first pet, first street?) is Biddy Violet.
  • I once bit the boy next door for not letting me have a go in his shiny, red, new toy car – my mother punished me by biting me back. Social services would be brought in nowadays but I well and truly learned my lesson.
  • My cookery teacher at school was Miss Castle who reprimanded me for choosing flapjacks in the ‘oat class’ as I was her star pupil and these were far too simple – disappointed!
  • Caravanning holidays to the South of France were the start of my culinary journey being introduced to the vibrant markets, shiny, shellfish and the highlight for me…les Patisseries. Standing on tippy toes peering at the jewelled counters full of brioche, eclairs, madeleines, macarons……I was hooked.
  • I wanted to take cookery at ‘A’ Level but was told I couldn’t without another science (I got 8% in my physics mock so this was not an option), so instead I went for French, German and Economics.
  • I now speak fluent Italian, ‘get by on holidays’ French and ‘where is the station’ German.
  • My first job was for an Italian Tour Operator and was where I established my deep love and affection for the country, the food, the language and the people. I will have my hideaway in the Tuscan hills one day.
  • I have survived a serious house fire and a nasty car crash whereby my sister unintentionally flung me through the windscreen of her Mini.
  • I am a spiritual soul, have dipped into Buddhism and use Transcendental Meditation most days to get me through life’s stresses.
  • My career has spanned travel, music, charitable sector (where I was a real grown up CEO with glass office, P.A, twirly chair and company car) and of course, the food industry and hospitality.
  • I have had two of my own businesses – Pink Noise, an audio hire company with my friend Jan and Flavours, my deli and café in London, which I went on to sell.
  • I am the most loyal of friends and will take two secrets shared with me, to the grave.
  • I prepared the wedding breakfast for a famous politician who just missed out on being Prime Minister.
  • I entered MasterChef the year after my mother died, in her honour, as it was a programme we would often watch together. I was the overall Champion in 1997 giving me the push I needed to enter the world of food full time.
  • I now live in Kent overlooking corn fields and apple orchards.
  • I hate tuna in all forms – tinned, fresh…keep that Devils spawn away from me.
  • I have wanderlust and am at my happiest with passport in hand boarding a plane or train.
  • My desert island discs meal would be Pad Thai, followed by roast lamb and finished with my mothers steamed syrup pudding.

So there you have it. A little insight into what makes me tick and I am sure throughout my recipes and posts I will share a lot more.

Thank you for reading.

J