I don’t want to appear to be tooting my own trumpet but I really feel that I have to talk about this. Forgive me if I lose the run of myself, but I am slightly giddy with excitement ­– and I should admit that I have had one or two self-congratulatory tipples. Oh okay, maybe three or four. Hiccup!

Today I heard some amazing news. I’ve won an award! Or rather, mix., the first in a series of my own cookbooks, has won an award. And not just any old trophy either, but a Gourmand World Cookbook award. For those of you not in the know, these are a pretty big deal in my profession – the equivalent of the Booker or the Whitbread or any other accolade you care to mention.

I’m incredibly honoured to have been included on the shortlist, let alone to win it. The cookbook market is incredibly competitive, and with so many other notable writers out there I’m somewhat flabbergasted, I have to say. And to gain recognition from the likes of Edouard Cointreau (yes, that Cointreau) is pretty amazing to say the least.

There’s a strange mixture of emotions swirling around in my belly at the moment. I’m jubilant, obviously. mix. is a project which I followed from initial conception through design to final product. It was a long and occasionally difficult process which, as regular readers will already know, at times pushed me to the very limits of my sanity, so to have it celebrated in this way is a vindication of sorts. It reminds me that, in spite of the unsociable hours and endless air miles, my line of work is incredibly fulfilling and worthwhile.

But, to shift the focus off my own endeavours, this award is a testament to the people in my life who have helped me through this past year. Nobody gets to where they are without a few other folks giving them a helping hand or three. There have been difficult days, weeks or months in recent times, but several people have always been there to answer a phone, listen to my moaning, give me support or occasionally a necessary reality check. I don’t really know what to say but “thankyou”. Part of this award is yours.  

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