I’ve reached that certain age of experiential advantage. I have been cooking, studying, learning, eating, tasting, drinking, interviewing, networking, partying, entertaining and traveling til the pantry is packed—the cup runneth over.  I have a food-slasher’s checkered past, having worked as a newspaper columnist/cookbook author/ food-industry spokesperson/cooking teacher/restaurant consultant/grocery advisor/menu designer/recipe creator/event organizer and professional food contest judge (love the last). Now, I focus mainly on food and travel writing, not that I like to broadcast this as it is undoubtedly the best job in the world and I don’t want to encourage more competition. (No no you wouldn’t like it! Really. Trust me!)

As to formal training (and in my heart of hearts, I don’t think formal training is any more necessary to be a great cook than it is to be a great traveler) I secretly adore dropping names of a few extraordinary chefs I’ve studied with on their own turf so I will. I have cooked with Marcella Hazan in Bologna, Giuliano Bugialli in Florence, Anton Moismann in London, Joseph Rostang and Pierre Troisgros in France and Violet Oon in Singapore. Have also attended several good cooking schools in Thailand and studied sous vide with the inventor, George Pralus in Briennon, France. If I can’t wow you with those names, I might as well give up. More importantly I’ve been a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, colleague and friend and have cooked and traveled with all, so come with a multi-generational perspective and appreciation of a variety of tastes and desires. All in all, I have been blessed with an abundance I hope to share with you in Sweet Leisure, this private food and travel publication dedicated to past joys and present pleasures.