Last week I had the pleasure of having a lovely midweek breakfast with Ceri Jones, natural chef and author of the blog Natural Kitchen Adventures. I discovered Ceri’s blog late last year after moving to London and looking around for some local healthy foodie inspiration. Since then, I’ve continued to enjoy and admire Ceri’s work and especially, the attitude toward food and healthy eating that she projects. In particular, I like that Ceri focuses on seasonal ingredients and natural whole foods, and that there is no strict dietary dogma surrounding the recipes that she produces; there’s something (healthy) for everyone. Ceri has also professionally trained as a natural chef, so I also appreciate the new ideas and techniques she can teach with this background! I’m also amazed that Ceri had a different professional career before starting down this path – it is so inspiring and motivating for a lawyer/student nutritionist like me (how I wish for more time to dedicate towards my nutrition degree!).
I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed my brekky with Ceri (who is just as nice in person). xx
Ceri Jones – Natural Chef
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What inspired and/or motivated you to start your journey towards becoming a professional natural chef?
It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride to be honest. It wasn’t a sudden decision, it was a very gradual thing. Over the many years of my non-related professional career I had slowly started to realise that nutrition, cooking, and just generally healthy living were far more motivating subject areas than my current career. I’m not sure where the original interest began – it was a cumulative processes – first along a road of trying to lose weight, doing it wrongly and affecting my own hormonal health in the process, training for the marathon, and sadly losing both of my parents young (58 and 62) to disease.
2. What does a typical working week look like for you these days (if there is such a thing!)?
There is absolutely no such thing. I try and maintain a Mon-Fri working week if I can, but so often cooking classes and catering events seem to pop up at weekends. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to scheduling normality. Most days start with going through my social media feeds and emails, then I will spend time writing my blog and weekly newsletter, cooking and photographing a recipe, developing recipe for a brands or articles, planning for a cooking class or catered event, or going out to meet new contacts over a coffee. There is an awful lot of desk time for someone who likes to spend time in the kitchen. Its OK though as I used to be a Projects Manager so I love to organise things. I will inevitably spend too much time checking in on social media during the day and into my evenings.
3. It can be really stressful and quite overwhelming to work for yourself (or so I have found!) What are your favourite ways to relax and re-energise in between work tasks?
Cooking used to be the way I relaxed, but now that its my job that’s no longer ideal! I like to go to yoga 3-4 times a week or fit in a harder training session when I have enough energy to (motivation is tough these days!). I also love to go out for dinner/brunch/coffee with friends, to the theatre or to concerts, to wander round London’s many markets (foodie or otherwise), or to escape London for the day and get out in the fresh air!
4. You’ve recently been appointed course director for a new Natural Chef Course that’s launching at The College of Naturopathic Medicine. Firstly – congratulations! Secondly – tell us a little about the course. Who would you recommend the course to?
The course is designed to bridge the gap between a formal nutrition qualification and a chef course. Teaching Students the fundamentals of cooking through the eyes of nutrition. Anyone who has a passion for cooking healthy food and wants to learn more but is perhaps overwhelmed by the idea of a 3 year degree in nutrition. There is so much you can do with this knowledge – not least feeding your friends and family for life!
5. What will we always find in your fridge (or pantry)?
Garlic, olive oil, sea salt, lemons, fresh herbs, eggs, porridge oats, rocket, avocado, bananas, dark chocolate, coffee. I think that pretty much sums up my staples!
6. Please share with us a favourite recipe of yours.
Recipe: Apricot Mousse (with chocolate shards)
A special family recipe updated for 2015!
“An incredibly light mousse made by folding whipped egg whites through stewed and softened fruit puree.”
- 6 medium fresh apricots
- 2 dessert apples
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp powdered coconut sugar or xylitol
- 2 egg whites
- 40 grams chocolate, broken into shards (about 70% dark chocolate is best)
- Peel and core the apples, and remove stones from apricots. Chop all fruit in to chunks.
- Place apricots and apples in to a medium saucepan and add the lemon juice.
- Simmer the mix over a moderate heat until softened, it should take about 15 minutes. Add the sugar and stir well. Allow to cool.
- When cooled, blend the fruit to a smooth puree if it has not totally disintegrated during cooking.
- Now whip into a mousse. First, whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff, and then gently fold in the cooled fruit puree.
- Pour into serving dishes and chill in the fridge.
- Top with chocolate shards just before serving. This is best served on same day.
See the original recipe post here: naturalkitchenadventures.com/recipe/apricot-mousse/
“Natural Chef Ceri Jones combines her passion for healthful food and nutrition with a love of cooking, exploring new recipes with fresh, seasonal ingredients, and teaching.
In 2014, Ceri completed her professional training as Natural Chef at Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts near San Francisco, and returned to London. She now works as a freelance instructor, specialising in conscientious sourcing, careful preparation and mindful consumption of healthful foods. She runs her own public workshops and works with clients on a 1:1 or small group basis. She also works as a food and recipe writer and chef.
Since establishing her flourishing career, Ceri has worked for Blackheath Cooks, Made In Hackney, The Shoreditch Trust, College of Naturopathic Medicine, Retreat Café, and has published many works online and offline. She is writer of the whole foods blog Natural Kitchen Adventures, and was thrilled to win a highly commended place in the health category at the UK Blog Awards in April 2015.
In 2015 Ceri was appointed as Course Director on the new Natural Chef course at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London. Ceri will manage and lecture on parts of the course.”
Connect with Ceri
Future events naturalkitchenadventures.com/events/