See below for “The corporate version” if you just want the “why am I qualified to teach this course” summary.

“Where on earth is that accent from?”

I grew up in Singapore and came to the UK to study over 20 years ago and somehow ended up with an accent that’s more American than I can fathom. Some questions have unexciting answers when answered without embellishment. I think this also applies to questions answered in the media – on health, wealth, relationships etc. – which is why people selling stuff embellish the beejeesus out of their answers.

“What are you?”

Someone actually worded the question that way. Granted I was in Sri Lanka and English was not his first language.

I’m a mixed race mongrel (human as far as I can tell). My parents are themselves mixed races too. The broad answer is I’m Singhalese/ Chinese. I’ve been described as being “from the internet”* as it’s not obvious which culture I identify with.

*he assured me that it was said as a compliment

“What qualifies you to create this course?”

If you’re asking, I’m guessing you mean besides my good ‘ol raw genius in just coming up with this course.

Well, like all proper Asian parents, my parents wanted me to be “the doctor” (out of the holy trinity of professions: doctor, lawyer or accountant). But after I finished my BSc in Clinical Science, I opted not to go on to the medical years.

My parents were unsurprisingly gutted. But I managed to slightly placate them when I went on to do a Masters in Financial Analysis instead (close enough to being an accountant I suppose).

“But what has any of this got to do with cooking?”

So imagine the depths my parents’ horror when, after graduating, I became a chef.

The first person in my whole extended family to go to university and I voluntarily choose to work 16 hours a day in a hot kitchen! This was in the days before TV chefs were household names. And like most jobs it’s made to look more glamourous than it really is. I loved it though and worked in various kitchens for about 3 years.

Anyway, I then had a life in the corporate world, studied economics, meandered through life and ended up being a trainer who specialised in decision-making.

“How is a background in clinical science, analysis and decision-making relevant to a cooking course?”

Well, I’ve used my science education to cut through the crap about nutrition that’s being pedaled in the world. I can bring you a course that doesn’t try to sell you on the idea that one particular (miracle) thing is going to change your health forever.

I’m very well-read on nutrition and I’m aware of the confusing and conflicting information out there. It’s a relatively young science and scientists, nutritionists and physicians are still poking around trying to understand how our bodies respond to what we eat.

Like Michael Pollan who said “Eat  food, most plants, not too much”, I also attempt to keep it simple. I have my preference of moving away from highly processed food and I’ll share what I do but I make no claims that my diet philosophy is the best.

My analytical background trained me to look for patterns and trends, which helped me to chunk together the information into easily digestible pieces for you.

And my years as a corporate trainer, working with very busy people, have taught me the value of breaking down the information in small blocks and layering those blocks steadily to form an unforgettable foundation.

I also did a lot of work on decisions and behaviour. I’m using what I know about how we form habits (or don’t) to create a programme that will give you a better chance of success*.

*I think just about everything sits on a spectrum of likelihood. I’m suspicious of black and white statements or things said with undue certainty. This doesn’t mean that I don’t offer you any guarantees. I promise that I will keep working hard to help you succeed and if you don’t learn anything or if you’re unhappy with the course, you have 30 days to get all your money back.

“What else do you do that’s relevant?”

I’m a certified Tiny Habits Coach and can guide you as you build your habits, cooking or otherwise. I’ve spent years prior to this qualification learning about habits. I know how hard it is even when you know theoretically what to do.

I take a realistic approach that gives sustainable results. And through the Tiny Habits method, I learned the importance of celebration and how our progress can be accelerated when we attach a positive emotion to our activities (most peculiar for a grit-driven person like me).

I’m now better able to help clients (many of whom are grit-driven achievers) who may be tired of their less forgiving approach to getting things done/creating new habits.

“Why else is this course so forgiving?”

I spent a chunk of my adult life working long hours. I’ve lived in small London flats with bad kitchens. There were times when I survived on diabolical budgets as I failed at various start-ups. And for the past few years I’ve been extremely fortunate to live in places with amazing kitchens and a less restrictive budget.

So this course comes from some empathy for a number of different circumstances.

“Is there anything else I need to know?”

I’m not sure you needed to know any of the ramble above. I hope the glimpse of who I am has helped to give you an understanding of how this course came to be.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me: info@cookingforlife.club

Hope you enjoy the course and see you soon

Andrea