What’s your earliest food memory? I remember loving Smarties when I was a child. They are a timeless classic and now we use these as toppings in our sundaes throughout Giraffe.
What foods did you like and dislike as a child? I didn’t like milk and I’m still not a fan today. My biggest food love was and still is fruit. My love of fruit shines through our menus with regular appearances from stacked blueberry and banana pancakes, zuma beach salad, miso-lime salad alongside apple and berry crumble.
What did you have for school dinners? School dinners are not what they are today with the school dinner revolution. I remember the food being stodgy shepherd's pie, turkey drummers and lumpy mash. Thankfully, now we know what great food is.
Do you have any cooking heroes? My husband and co-owner of Giraffe, Russel. He takes inspiration from our travels around the world, which is reflected in our eclectic Giraffe menu – I look forward to a different cuisine every night.
What was the first thing you ever cooked? My earliest memory is baking biscuits with my mum and sticking Smarties on all of them.
What’s your worst cooking disaster? Making bread is my nemesis. The smell of freshly cooked bread is delicious but I can’t seem to get it right.
What would be your perfect family dinner? I like to eat healthily so a perfect family dinner would consist of grilled fish and vegetables. A particular favourite is the miso-lime salmon with grilled wasabi rice and green onions from our Giraffe Family Cookbook.
How often do you eat as a family? Although my three children are all grown up now, we try to get together once or twice a week with my four grandchildren too. We enjoy sitting around the table and tucking into big bowl salads, such as grilled chicken with tiger prawn and mango. In fact, it was such a family favourite it is now on the Giraffe menu.
Do you have any tips on encouraging good table manners? Yes, remember to eat slowly and relax, this way you’re more likely to enjoy your food more.
Any golden rules for raising a happy eater? Make sure they try everything once and if they’re not keen don’t force them – just try something different.
What’s the best recipes for weaning a baby? Try them with colourful and flavoursome food. It should also be something that they can hold and feel, to engage them as much as possible.
What’s the best way to tempt a fussy eater? From past experience, put honey on everything.
What’s the most unusual thing your children eat? My children have grown up eating a wide variety of dishes from around the world so at this stage nothing they eat is unusual.
What’s your favourite cookbook and why? Besides Giraffe’s Family Cookbook, I like The Silver Palate as it provides back-to-basics recipes, which stand the test of time. Bobby Flay’s Boy Meets Grill is also great. It has been a great inspiration when introducing our delicious skewer menu at the new Soho Giraffe.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why? A particular favourite is a beachside restaurant we visit regularly in Israel. Aside from this, we are passionate about family dining which is why we feel Giraffe has been so successful – we understand our customers.
What’s your food guilty pleasure? I can’t resist a bar of 85 per cent dark chocolate – pure luxury.
What would be your last supper? Jude’s ice cream (we serve it at Giraffe), a bar of 85 per cent dark chocolate and a good bottle of Pinot Noir.
Where do you dine out with your grandchildren? Besides Giraffe? Chez Bob in Belsize Park and Monkey Nuts in Crouch End.
What would you do if your child had a tantrum in a restaurant? Nobody wants to hear a screaming child but we understand it happens. I would take my child outside until they calm down.
Do you think families should be more encouraged to dine out in restaurants? Yes, absolutely. At Giraffe, we relate to big families so we introduce children’s events throughout the year and provide a menu that everyone can choose from big or small.