I graduated from La Varenne Culinary School in France, where I worked with owner/author Anne Willan as her editorial assistant. I studied classical French cuisine and pastry, and worked on Willan’s book La France Gastronomique, testing and editing recipes, and location scouting with the photographer.
After graduation I did apprenticeships in Paris at a chef-owned bistro and the Sofitel Hotel. In London I did stages at Harvey’s with Marco Pierre White, and at Le Gavroche with Michel Roux—both Michelin-starred kitchens. During those two years I earned my way by cooking in private homes, on a yacht in the Mediterranean, at a passenger balloon company in Burgundy, in a trattoria in Rome, and at embassies in Budapest.
Upon my return to the U.S. I did another two apprenticeships, one at Mark Miller’s Coyote Café in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and another in the publicity department of Susan Feniger and MarySue Milliken’s Border Grill in Los Angeles. In Southern California I worked at La Brea Bakery with Nancy Silverton and did pastry consulting and recipe development for King’s Road Café. I also did a great deal of private catering in the greater Los Angeles area and in New York, cooking for clients that included Heather Graham, Ed Burns, Donna Karan, Barbara Streisand, and Liv Tyler, among others.
In New York I took up more editorial work and recipe development, collaborating with international chef Laurent Tourondel on his book New American Bistro. My freelance writing and photography pieces were published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times Style Magazine, BUST, Nation’s Restaurant News, The Christian Science Monitor, and several local publications. I also published my own blog about food and art for several years called Harriett’s Tomato, until I got the travel bug again and began taking seasonal chef contracts at remote locations in Antarctica, Alaska, and Palmyra Atoll in the Equatorial Pacific. Between jobs I traveled throughout Asia and Latin America, sampling the local cooking and visiting as many food markets as I could find.
I discovered Asheville, NC, in 2012 and bought a home with an acre of land while commuting to New York to work as a culinary assistant and foodstylist on CHOPPED, CHOPPED JR., and THE PIONEER WOMAN at the Food Network. In Asheville, I co-own and manage Queen Mum Studio, a creative space and natural light photography studio where I keep and rent out food styling props and vintage tabletop and furniture for events.