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Celebrity Chef Valentina Harris is the noted authority on Italian food and food culture and a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Descending from the important Renaissance Sforza family, Valentina is bright, passionate, accessible and appeals to people far beyond her chosen subject. Valentina has a cookery school in Italy and also in the south of France where guests combine a truly wonderful holiday with an exciting hands-on cookery and wine experience . . . more info

Valentina HarrisQ: Whom do you most admire for their achievements?

A: Elizabeth David

Q: Who is your favourite chef?

A: Michael Moore

Q: With whom would you most like to have dinner?

A: Gerard Depardieu

Q: What would be your desert island disk?

A: Anything by Del Amitri

Q: What is your favourite British food?

A: Proper roast pheasant with all the trimmings

Q: What is your favourite Italian food?

A: Pasta, Risotto or proper pizza in Naples

Q: What is your favourite French food?

A: Good Bistro cooking or anything Laurent Lebeau cooks or anything enjoyed with Gerard Depardieu

Q: What is your favourite World food?

A: Good Thai

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: Making people happy

Q: How would you describe eating in the UK to someone who's never visited it?

A: Varied, but often expensive if you want to eat really well

Q: Do you think food in the UK has changed for the better since the days of Duck with Orange and huge helpings of Black Forest Gateau?

A: Oh yes!

Q: What's the best thing about eating in the UK?

A: The raw materials are really good and mostly respected and cooked / prepared with care - and it is so varied.

Q: And the worst?

A: Often just out of most people's price range if they want to eat really well.

Q: At what sort of place do you regularly go to eat?

A: Apart from my own restaurant, locally in either a good British, French or Italian.

Q: Would you like to live and work somewhere other than the UK and if so where and why?

A: Somewhere hot and sunny as it makes me feel happy to live in that sort of environment. South Africa or Italy.

Q: What's your favourite food?

A: Salads, good bread, really juicy steaks, cheese, fruit . . .

Q: When did you first get involved in cooking?

A: When I was three. I opened my first restaurant in the garden at home when I was eight.

Q: What sort of people have you cooked for during your career. Most memorable or most forgettable?

A: Most memorable are all the people who genuinely understand the pleasures and joy of enjoying good food. Forgettable are all those who simply eat to live.

Q: Do you ever have regrets that you chose to become a chef?

A: Sometimes, when my feet and back really hurt!

Q: What do you think you would have been if you had not become a chef?

A: I would probably have concentrated on writing instead, or maybe pursued my rock and roll career, or been a vet . . .

Q: What would be your advice to someone who is thinking of training to be a chef?

A: Look after your feet and back from the very start.

Q: The career of one famous chef only came about because his professional football career came to an early close through injury, and one chef's plans to open a restaurant never happened when he became football manager of Aberdeen and later Manchester United. Has fate ever played a part in your career?

A: Always.

To find out more about Valentina Harris visit

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