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Introducing chef-to-be Nikki K

Nikki K on 30th Jul, 2014

You know those books by people who decide to completely change their lives and up sticks to run an olive grove in Spain or an orchard in Italy? Those tales always seemed slightly unreal when viewed through the grey-tinted spectacles of living my London life.

And living it I certainly was: a born-and-bred Londoner, living in a nice flat in Putney; a Chartered Occupational Psychologist pursuing a career in management consultancy with an enjoyable job that paid well; close to my family (both emotionally and geographically); loads of friends and socialising; an active member of a walking club. I travelled overseas all the time but couldn’t imagine ever living anywhere but London (and no further out than the edge of Zone 2).  

I could never have imagined how much my life would change. In May 2010 I met a Tasmanian sheep farmer called Angus in a lift in Istanbul, and the rest, as they say, is history. People tell me I should write one of those books…

Introducing chef-to-be Nikki K

Fast forward to January 2013, and I have just moved to rural Tasmania, having completely transplanted myself from my old London life – I have waved farewell to family and friends; learnt to drive (albeit only an automatic); exchanged management consultancy for being an overseas student chef in training; moved from financial independence to being a ‘kept woman’; and from having fortnightly deliveries of organic vegetables from the nice man in the Riverford farm van, to having a very nice man who brings home fresh lambs liver from the farm for me to cook for our supper.  How life can change if you let it! And I had always said I would never live beyond the edge of Zone 2…

It had long been a daydream of mine to go to chef school – but in the UK it was just that - a pipedream - with my mortgage, a good job, and a mother who would never have let me hear the end of it!

As my story and plans have become more widely known, many friends and acquaintances have confided their own passion for cooking, and their envy of my enrolment at chef school. I had no idea it was such a widespread pipedream… if you share it, or if you are just interested to hear how it pans out, I invite you to follow me on my trainee chef journey through this blog.

So here I am, Monday 4th February 2013, sitting in my new home, by the sea on the beautiful East Coast of Tasmania, looking at the full roll of proper chef knives that I have just had professionally sharpened, and wondering what this chef course will have in store for me, and perhaps, what I might have in store for it. With the induction day tomorrow it seems like a good time to reflect on and record my hopes and fears for this full-time, 10 month course for the Australian trade qualification for chefs - Commercial Cookery Certificate 3.


  1. It equips me for that Plan B career/job – as I have yet to find a job opportunity for a business psychologist/ management consultant in rural Tasmania
  2. It will provide a real sense of purpose for me during 2013, while I get used to living such a different life, in such a different place
  3. Whether or not I become a professional chef, that I will look back on it as money well spent – the fees for an overseas student are astronomical 
  4. And of course that my culinary abilities will exceed Nigella’s by the end of the year…


  1. The course may not be run as professionally as the high fees would have you expect
  2. I will discover I am temperamentally unsuited to being a chef – I will certainly have to work on my self-discipline and pace as I transition from being a keen amateur to professional chef
  3. That I will cut myself lots on my newly sharpened Henckels knives (which is pretty much a definite)
  4. That I will have little in common with my fellow students (fairly likely – I have been told I will probably be the only one with English as a first language and twice the age of most of them

Read my first blog from chef school

Read my guide to finding out your cooking DNA

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