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Fisher remembers very clearly the moment he became interested
in food. He was three years old, in a cake shop, and
in the process of falling completely in love with a
pure white birthday cake. It wasn't just any cake, but
his birthday cake. It looked so beautiful. It was covered
in pure white icing, and it had a cherry on top. It
glistened and it called to him. He wanted to marry it.
a finger slowly reached out and disappeared into the
soft white flank. Jim didn't want to taste the cake
- that would have spoiled the surprise. It was the texture
that he needed to experience. And it felt exactly as
he imagined it would.
the telling-off he received didn't dampen the growing
ember placed inside him by that siren of a confection.
then, Jim became fascinated with food and cooking. Eyeball
to worktop, he watched his Mother make all manner of
tasty things."Mum wasn't a particularly fantastic
cook and had to cater very unpretentiously for my Dad,
who is one of those people who just eats to live. But
she was prolific and never lost her enthusiasm for food.
Forever experimenting, she pushed out some highly memorable
dishes over the years".
grown up, Jim's first job was as bar manager at the
White Hart Hotel in Exeter. When the chef went sick,
Jim readily jumped in and was soon at home cooking in
the cramped kitchens.
stimulating career as a London policeman followed, but
. . . "After seventeen years chasing burglars and
drug dealers I became increasingly aware of one thing
- that, at the age of thirty-eight, I was getting far
too old for that sort of malarkey!".
as a vocation, was calling him, but he had no idea if
he could 'cut it' on the modern food scene. Which is
why he applied to go on the BBC's Masterchef. "I
had absolutely no idea if I was any good or not, and
the prospect terrified me more than being beaten senseless
by a bunch of drunks at work (and that was just my fellow
coppers). So, I thought I'd get some tips from the pros".
of his judges was personal hero Rick Stein, who's first
comment on seeing and tasting Jim's winning dish was
nothing other than, "Wow!"
was to meet his champion again when he went on to win
the £5,000 first prize on the Rick Stein / Radio
Times seafish cookery competition with his own original
dish of Chargrilled Seabass on Fennel with a Pernod
Sauce <click here>
a consequence of all this, Jim was invited to work under
the popular TV chef at his Seafood restaurant in Padstow,
Cornwall where he learnt many aspects of the restaurant
trade. Cooking for one hundred and twenty covers every
lunch time, with even more in the evening, certainly
honed Jim's cooking skills leaving him hungry for more.
stint in the London kitchens of another TV chef, Alastair
Little, extended Jim's expertise. Here, he learned the
benefits of cooking great food in a simple way - Alistair
Little 's own raison d'être. Jim subsequently
appeared on the BBC Food and Drink programme working
alongside chef Tony Tobin of Ready Steady Cook fame,
cooking for one hundred and fifty guests at a charity
confident in his cooking, Jim grasped the nettle with
both hands and promptly left the police force. "I
have to admit that I shed tears the day I left. Seventeen
years is an awfully long time to spend in what is effectively
ones second family. I'd met, and worked with, some of
the bravest, most loyal people imaginable. I'd been
tested to and beyond the limit in every conceivable
situation - some funny, most pretty scary. To leave
was like being sent into the wilderness naked".
set up Wine&Dine, a successful enterprise specialising
in cooking dinner parties for people in the comfort
of their own home.
partnership with Master of Wine and former wine marketing
director of Sainsbury's, Julia Jenkins, he planned,
prepared and cooked the meal, demonstrating the various
courses. Julia selected and presented wines to go with
each course. Meals were based on Jim's love of traditional
regional dishes, not only from British shores, but also
the Mediterranean and what has now become known as the
hugely popular, Wine&Dine eventually took second
place to my growing desire to travel with a view to
setting up a cookery school. We sold our home, bought
a caravan and a one-way ferry ticket, and scoured Europe
for a suitable venue".
years later, Jim and his family now run friendly relaxed
hands-on cooking holidays in the Dordogne region of
SW France from their magnificent converted barn.
really do pinch myself every day. My life here is so
full. The area we live in is peaceful and uncrowded,
and life here is conducted at such a graceful pace.
Don't get me wrong, I do miss some aspects of living
in Britain - well, pubs, mostly - but, I wouldn't swap
it for the world. Would I go back to being a policeman?
Not on your Nelly!"
recipe which bagged the Rick Stein / Radio Times competition
was for Chargrilled Seabass on Fennel with a Pernod
Sauce - <click
and learn to cook on our relaxed friendly hands-on cooking
holiday near Sarlat in the Dordogne, France.
is a cooking holiday with a difference where you can
relax and learn to cook.
in our magnificent converted barn in the Dordogne, we'll
be cooking some great classic and contemporary dishes
on your holiday, from France and around the world, in
practical hands-on style. If you have ever wanted to
cook and present dishes like professional and television
chefs, you will be able to learn how on your cooking
holiday in France.
. . if you want to know more about Jim's cooking holidays
in France then visit his web site <click