Photo by Jamie Garside
I am a mum to my two beautiful children Hendrix and Carmen.
My business was born in Barcelona in the days before Brighton.‘Gem’s Vegan Takeaway’ started from our fourth-floor old-style apartment in the Gothic quarter. The kids were babies and one day a friend asked me to cook lunch for them and then another friend and it spiralled from there. Within a month I was cooking for twenty or so people every day and making vegan bento boxes for travelling DJ’s as they were so sick of airline food. Every day I would cook a different vegan dish, such as my Lentil Shepherd’s Pie or Burrito Bowl. The business grew by word of mouth and my passion for finding and adapting new plant-based recipes grew even more.
I have loved cooking ever since I can remember. As the youngest of five I grew up in a large bustling family without much money and our house was always full. I was taught how to cook at a young age by my wonderful mum, she tells me at around eight I was cooking meals for the entire family. My mother was a midwife who frequently worked night shifts, so my siblings and I had to look after the jobs. I was the only one who wanted to cook the dinner and I hated cleaning so I would swap jobs with my siblings and soon became the family cook most nights.
I suffered from an eating disorder as a young teen and was really poorly. I am not quite sure how I recovered but I did. I am grateful for the huge impact it has had with my relationship with food and how it taught me to feed my body with nutritious healthy food. When I was poorly I didn’t enjoy anything to do with eating but I was still obsessed with cooking and I read hundreds of cookery books. Now I try and enjoy each mouthful and that’s why making my food look so inviting means so much to me. It gives me a boost, shows that I care about the food I am going to eat and makes me mindful of how nourishing it is.
I have studied plant-based nutrition and have a degree in addiction counselling. I worked as an addiction counsellor in women’s projects for over 10 years and this is where my passion for mood foods came from. I believe plant-based foods have the power to heal not only our physical health issues but also improve our mental health .