People often remark that my going from fashion model to personal chef was an odd choice. Not really. You try living on 3 lettuce leaves a day and various stimulants and see where that gets you…a seat in an AA meeting feeling very, very hungry! Just for the record, I will be 11 years sober Sunday.
First off: I am not a classicaly trained chef. While other kids were out climbing trees, I had “concoction days” in my mother’s kitchen…you could say I have over 40 years experience cooking. Needless to say I have vastly improved since the days of presenting my father with smashed Oreo cookies mixed with lunch meat. The poor man gagged it down, all the while pretending it was the best thing he ever ate. That made the look of pride on his face when I won “Best Poultry Burger in America” on Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown all the more rewarding.
I was born into a retailing family, so fashion has always played a large role in my life. I grew up with Halston and Bill Blass staying in our house while they did trunk shows at the Younker Brothers stores. I idolized their glamorous models, and dreamed of being just like them one day. Modeling was no hardship…I loved strutting the runways of Versace and Alaia, and shooting with legendary photographers like Peter Beard, Matthew Rolston, and Norman Parkinson. In fact many of my friends and clients still are in the fashion industry.
Fortunately my culinary talents became more refined as I was exposed to a multitude of international cuisines while modeling, touring with Duran Duran, and eating in many of the world’s top restaurants…but I couldn’t wait to get home to my own kitchen and recreate some of my favorites. Believe me, as a foodie with a career that depended upon keeping my weight rediculously low, every meal (few and far between) was savored.
Lets face it…models have a limited shelf life. After moving back to the United Sates in 1998, a chronic illness left me housebound for several years. With little else to occupy my time, I watched Food Network nonstop, and invited friends over for dinner often. Cooking was once again at the forefront of my creative passions, and that is how The Roving Stove was born in 2002. Gone were the days of 3 lettuce leaves. Instead I am whipping up 5 square meals a week for my time-starved clients to enjoy during the week. I found a career that truly satiates me.