I’m the author of nine books and I write on food, wine and travel for anyone who’ll buy my stuff, viz (of late) Decanter, FT Weekend France Magazine and Culture. I contribute monthly to Zester Daily, a California-based co-op of professional journalists and authors sharing stories about food and wine from around the world.
My interest in food veers towards the obsessive and I seldom tire of cooking (or, for that matter, eating). Occasionally this spills over into workshops in my country kitchen in Alsace, which make a nice synergy with the writing (testing recipes for books or articles, trying out things from my travels etc.). Food is seasonal, sustainable, creative, eclectic and hands-on, and each session culminates in a shared meal around the dining room table (or on the terrace, weather permitting), with wines to match. Sometimes there’s a French focus (reflecting where I live), sometimes it’s Mexican (lived there 7 years), Italian (go as often as possible), Spanish or Catalan (where my two kids have had the good taste to settle). It all depends on my mood, and where my travels have taken me most recently. Restaurant reviews for the Alsace/Basel/Baden region appear here on my site. Other reviews crop up sporadically on the home page
Wine is an important (essential?) adjunct to food and travel. I scribble copious tasting notes, but have yet to find a way to write them up that doesn’t read like a telephone directory. So I content myself with meeting wine growers, relishing their passionate commitment to what they do, tasting the fruits of their labours – and then telling a story about them, their terroir and their wines. Recent stuff of mine that’s appeared in Decanter includes wine travel features on the Valais (Switzerland), Empordà (Catalunya), Mallorca and the Jura. I compiled the three sections on Alsace for www.winetravelguides.com and I contributed the webinar on matching food with the wines of Alsace for the Alsace master-level course offered by the French Wine Society. I lead bespoke vineyard tours in Alsace where, as one client wrote, “the scenery sings, the wines speak and the food fills the soul…re-affirms my belief in wine tourism as a means of providing lasting memories and loyalty to a region and its wines”.
As for travel – joined at the hip to food and wine – I like to seek out places and experiences that are new to me so I can write about them from a fresh perspective (the overnight bus from Oaxaca to Chiapas, the No. 62 ferry in Hamburg’s harbour, rock paintings in the Kimberley in WA…). My only self-imposed rule for travel writing is to avoid ever using the word ‘nestling’.
I’m involved with the local community on a number of fronts. Once a month I do a food & wine chat on something topical/seasonal for The English Show at Basel’s Radio X, which is run by a band of cheery volunteers and goes out live every Tuesday evening from 6.30 to 8 p.m. on 94.5 FM. In 2001 I helped to set up and run an English-speaking cancer support group for the Basel area.