Victoria was living and working in London a few years ago when she came down with glandular fever, which then lead to ME. ME is a tricky one to deal with because half of western medical practitioners don’t believe in it, but she really wasn’t well and had to take a year and a half off to fight it, during which time she ended up reading a lot.
To a point Victoria self-medicated. She became really interested in different types of medicine and started to combine western and eastern medicine. Victoria decided that she didn’t just want a band-aid solution, but to feel better permanently so re-wired her diet and got into yoga – the latter was mostly for her mind so that illness wasn’t the thing that consumed it. After a while she actually started to feel better than she had done before she fell ill with ME, so it surprised a lot of people (not least of all her work I suspect) when she took that opportunity to go on a sabbatical.
Off she went to live in New York where she trained as a chef for six months. It wasn’t the way it often is in the UK though, where the cooking schools focus on classical French cuisine which is heavy on dairy, cream, butter, and sugar – she didn’t want to eat that stuff. She went to The Natural Gourmet Institute, which is very well known in the States. It’s all based on macrobiotics and was started by the private chef to the Beatles (which is as good a recommendation as any).
The whole school was health-focused with lots of nutritional advice and inspiring chef instructors who had worked in both high-end restaurants and for private clients suffering from serious illnesses such as cancer and MS – it was really phenomenal.
While she was studying she worked at Dimes, a restaurant in New York that’s both trendy and health conscious, and was started by two really savvy ladies who keep getting awards for their cooking.
From there Victoria went to train as a yoga instructor at Jivamukti Yoga. She is so pleased that she did it but it was very hardcore. There was a level of devout spirituality, which wasn’t really her, but she still learnt so much from it. There were a lot of philosophy talks and it was physically gruelling. It was one of those things that broke Victoria and then put her back together again.
Then Victoria moved up to Maine and worked in a test kitchen under Matthew Kenny. There she studied raw food, and lived in this little cottage on the coast. Then she moved to LA and did some advanced chef training and whilst working for a health-based catering delivery company kitchen. It’s almost hard to be unhealthy in LA, whereas it can be difficult to be healthy in the UK.
After that Victoria travelled around Japan (it was a two week spontaneous date with a guy who’s now her boyfriend), before returning to London to train in culinary management at Le Cordon Bleu, alongside various other culinary pursuits.
Victoria met so many interesting people with amazing stories in the last few years and most importantly discovered a whole new world for herself. She is very excited about the future and phenomenally grateful for the health and life lessons that she is learning.
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