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In shortI am a self-taught cook, forager and home brewer. If I'm not in the garden growing or picking food, I'll be in the kitchen cooking or writing about it. I am the author of The Permaculture Kitchen which shows you how to cook no faff, seasonal & sustainable food with what your garden or seasonal produce seller has available. I live with my wife Debs on a 3-acre permaculture smallholding on the Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales, UK. Together, we aim for ‘optimum sufficiency’ given our land, time and energy resources. We keep chickens and in the past have kept geese, ducks, turkeys and pigs. I love fresh, seasonal and local food, prepared with skill & love to eat fresh or preserve for later. My goal is to help loads of people do the same with confidence. Back to top
My passion for foodAfter my wife and son, my biggest passion in life is food. I started to cook for myself when I was 8 or 9. Now I have my dream life. I write about food and work with my family to run a 3 acre smallholding on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales, UK. We manage our holding along Permaculture lines. Permaculture is a way to think about, design and use your environment so it is resilient and sustainable. For example, we’re developing a forest garden and grow perennial fruit & vegetables as well as the 'normal' annual crops. We’re not completely self sufficient, but we aim at ‘optimum sufficiency’ given our land, time and energy resources. We keep chickens and in the past have kept geese, ducks, turkeys and pigs.
My food lovesI love fresh, seasonal and local food, prepared with skill & love to eat fresh or preserve for later. I'm a keen fermenter of wine, beer, mead, vinegar, kefir products, kombucha and fruit & vegetables. I cure my own charcuterie and bacon. I love to include wild food that I've caught or foraged in my meals. I get a kick when I help other people learn how to prepare, cook and eat these ingredients in a way that fits into their lives. I’m an omnivore and I cook loads of vegetarian and vegan food. Good food is good food regardless of whether it’s got meat in it.
London to Llyn lifeI was born and brought up in London. I've lived in the suburbs and in central London and loved the city life. I married Debs in 1989. When our son was born we were keen to have space and clean air where we could enjoy the outdoors on our doorstep. We finally moved to the Llyn in 1997 and I spent 4 years on a weekly commute to London. In the early 2000s, I swapped the money of corporate life for the time to live from and with the land with my family. We’re financially much poorer and emotionally & spiritually immensely richer.
Early apprenticeshipsMy first part-time job aged 15 was in MacFisheries where I learned to sell & prepare fish, game and green-grocery. I then moved to work in the non-bread part of Home Bakeries, getting used to 4am starts and the heavy work and camaraderie of a busy bakery. Both these jobs were a great grounding in basic food appreciation & preparation. As I got older, I fully enjoyed the delights of working in off-licences and pubs. This was at a time when the New World varietal wines had just come to England and the Campaign for Real Ale was a force. It was a great time to learn about wine & beer. It was also when TV food programmes came out of their staid 50s presentation. My earliest influences were Graham Kerr, ‘The Galloping Gourmet’ and the unique Keith Floyd. They’re true inspirations and advocates of the joie de vivre of cooking with love using fresh ingredients.
Being professionalMy ‘professional’ career has been described as ‘eclectic’. I’ve variously done accounting, law, corporate & public affairs management, government relations, procurement, commercial management, company secretarial duties and executive coaching. I’ve done many of these things both as an employee and as a freelance consultant. On the way through I earned a law degree (LL.B.) and a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Open University. It’s not the standard CV of a food writer but there you go: I did an awful lot of cooking, eating & drinking along the way. For me, nothing is more satisfying than home-grown food, cooked with love and eaten with family and friends. Back to top
Other factsI've eaten locusts and mealworms as part of survival training. In 2007 I spent 18 days in Nova Scotia on a canoe expedition through the Tobeatic Wilderness and Kejimkujik National Park. After training, we spent 9 days canoeing and portaging unsupported through this unspoilt wilderness. I also draw, mostly with pencil and ink. I've made my own spoons and spatulas for the kitchen from the wood of our ash trees. I set up Seedy Penpals in 2012 which is a thriving online seed exchange. Apart from gardening and cooking, my hobbies include hill walking and reading history. I'd love someone to help me to learn to sea fish well. Back to top
PicturesRight click to save. For higher resolution pictures, please download the Media Pack above. Back to top
Testimonials and endorsementsAlys Fowler, Gardener, author and TV presenter
Carl is a patient and generous teacher...Diana Henry, Author, Sunday Telegraph Food Writer, Food Writer of the Year 2013
Carl shows you how to get pleasure from the fundamental things.I was described by The Welsh Menu as one of
...Wales's top bakersFrançoise Murat, designer and tutor/owner of Roots Shoots And Leaves said:
I like the fact that Carl is a grower, cook and eater of the seasonal larder...I see Carl experimenting, lots of it too, he understands that to succeed you have to fail, to get better you have to try new things and to truly get a harmonious life, you need to push the boundaries without upsetting the balance of nature.Chef and author Rachel Demuth described me as:
always industrious, highly recommendedSteve, a follower of my blog said this about my blackberry wine recipe:
Thanks for the recipe – by far the easiest and clearest to understand on the internet.And from Sam on the same recipe:
...thanks for the great guide. It’s by far the best on the internet for Blackberry wine. Long and detailed while at the same time being easy to understand for a novice. I suspect you get a surge in readers of this post around this time of year 🙂Back to top