About Kate & Toby


Toby and I are friends. As far as I can work out, we have been friends forever. He was born almost exactly one year before me so he would know better than me how it all began. 

My first clear memories of us tend to involve early eighties television (Heart to Heart, Roger Moore as James Bond and Star Wars re-runs). Our early years were played out to a soundtrack of rather fabulous music (Diana Ross and Barbara Streisand with a little Lionel on the side). We were wildly literary and staged frequent all-night Enid Blyton "read-offs" where the entire Secret Seven library could be polished off between the hours of ten pm and eight am.

Food featured heavily. Our headquarters were a garden shed from where complex spy rings were dismantled and literary criticism of the Famous Five versus the Secret seven raged. Only lunch and supper (or rather the glorious promise of it) brought us back across the garden to the house. Sunday lunches always involved a roast and a hostess trolley. They lasted for hours. We learned then that to sit with the grown-ups amidst roast lamb, gratin dauphinois and red wine was the stuff that life was made of. 

On Toby: Toby builds boats. It's an unusual profession, granted, and one with no obvious link to the culinary activities that take up the rest of his waking hours. When I say he builds them, I should also add that he designs them and sells them too. Sometimes he loses them or drives them into things but that is another story.

He grew up on and around boats. One childhood memory that I can summon up with great ease involves resisting all attempts to bundle me into a teeny tiny Topper with him somewhere near Lymington. At a slightly later date, I worked alongside him at the Southampton Boatshow, manning the entry to a 75 foot yacht. We were a formidable team. His popularity skyrocketed as he charmed the real clients whilst I, cerberus style, prevented the wannabe lottery winners from crossing the threshold.

His boats can be found here. Because he is really rather talented, he takes all the photographs too.


Well Kate, there's a lot of revelations there and I think, a few omissions. First, your early love of Abba and horses, which seemed to me to be time consuming and daft, and perhaps most importantly in this context, that I was a very fussy eater... Apparently I went to France as a three year old who would only eat cornflakes, and came back one who would only eat pizza (the depletion of cereal stocks necessitating a panicked hunt to find an alternative food by anxious parents). I didn't like vegetables much, and more strangely perhaps, cake. Even birthday cakes were substituted for putting candles in some sort of desert.

The community of food though was all important. Sunday lunch is a ritual I follow every week even now; that generous exchange of food and cooking and the sociability that goes with a group sitting together to dine was something we both certainly learned at our parents' tables.

I think I was more interested in the processes of cooking than the eating at first; standing on a stool at the stove to help Mum prepare her elaborate 80s dinner parties, getting mint from the garden to make sauce for lamb, and an attempt at 13 to make tagliatelle from scratch, with a rolling pin. I, my sister would say notoriously, had no interest in the processes that go with clearing up.  I'm not sure I do now, but I'm better at generating less mess in the first place.

So whereas I usually had a few hearty, hungry boys to feed (as long as they didn't mind washing up), Kate would be rustling up dishes of grace and sophistication, usually with a bit of continental je ne sais quoi or spiced with a hint of ooh la la.  We'll let you decide how much has changed...

On Kate: Kate is chic. Kate has always been chic, even growing up in Sussex, which I think we can all agree is quite an achievement in itself. There is an inevitably in her living in a high ceiling end 18th century Parisian apartment, with a suitably dandyish French husband.

Despite being massively over educated in languages and the law, Kate spent most of formative years making things look beautiful; clothes, flats and then restaurants and shops.  Now, as she is a generous soul, Kate has made it her mission to bring style to the French (she has never been without ambition) by guiding them to the most interesting, idiosyncratic and, of course, chic corners of the anarchy that is the World Wide Web.

When I tell you that she bought her wedding dress online, and that it was amazing (and chic, naturally) you'll understand just how good she is at this.  You can share in the inspirational clicking here.

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire