A few weeks ago, I shared my personal review of the Gastro tour that I took with this incredible lady. During the tour, due to my naturally curious personality I asked her where the idea for such a business came from. Hearing of her adventurous path, I couldn’t resist and asked her to be on my blog. This was shortly after I tried some delicious pickled garlic at the Spanish supermarket, thank god it was odour free, I doubt one could get a positive response with that kinda breath.
At the age of 19 after dropping out of uni where she studied drama wanting to become a director, Celia leaves the picturesque state of Colorado and ventures to London to follow her dreams: directing on stage. That was pre internet times and mobile phones, the times of reaching each other by land line or letters or pigeon post ( just kidding, I still use the latter:) life was more exciting when people engaged with each other face to face.
In London Celia fulfils her dreams, working as a stage manager and director for few years, but gets disillusioned with all theatre business and embarks on the self search path. Becomes a life model for art schools, works in a bakery (serving pastries and making coffee’s), lives in squats without telephones. (Can you imagine your life without one now, I mean no telephone, NO TeLepHoNe! By now you are probably going through your pockets checking if your phone is there with you since the fear of not having it raises your blood pressure, take a deep breath, most likely it’s in your hand since you are reading this right now:).
Celia gets introduced to Christiane Kubrick, a painter that needed models for head and face and starts working for her. Once at their house, she is asked to go and make some potatoes for lunch, not knowing how to cook (apart from perhaps a pack of pot noodles), she meets the AGA cooker and Aga meets Celia (it’s a big stove with 4 ovens that is continuously working/burning). Little did she know, these were the shores of her new passion and career path. It all started with making lunches, helping out with catering, playing with ingredients, using fresh vegetables from the garden. Those were the times when food wasn’t some gourmet obsession we are all used to now, it was just food. Nevertheless Celia was doing her personal educational journey and learning what goes with what and how it tastes. Keeps all the recordings of her recipes while she cooks at the house of Kubricks. The maestro himself once trying a dish that he liked and asked for it to be cooked for weeks, until one day he would say ‘never cook this again’.
Moving on, Celia starts working at Books For Cooks (store at Portobello), the golden age before the Internet. If anyone had any questions about the recipes or ingredients, they would telephone the shop for the answers. There was also a kitchen where Celia part time cooked to taste the dishes. Meanwhile she self publishes her 1st cook book. Makes 1000 copies, puts to sell in the store, loyal customers that knew Celia by then and later word of the mouth of its great content, sells all the copies within 3 months.
The Cook book had no pictures, it’s hard to imagine right now as we live in the era where we see food pictures of someone’s breakfast and brunch, lunch, tea time, dinner, supper on all the social medias that has been invented by the humanity, and mind the fact usually without the recipes.
In 2000’s Celia gets noticed by the publishers and goes international, 2nd book was a Best-seller.
Progress and development, creating and bringing your ideas to life are probably some of the greatest things one can achieve. Celia creates a new project that could bring her two passions together – cooking and teaching. The ‘Culinarium’ was born but it fell apart at the last moment. This made her realise she needs to use what’s already there. She pioneers with her idea and creates the gastro tours – Portobello and then Borough Market. You can always have a look at the content of the tour at the ‘what if’ section on my Coffee_Me website.
Celia Brooks: http://www.celiabrooks.com
Likes: Thrills // Dislikes: Fakes