It was back in 2008 that I became a stay-at-home dad after my business (supplying posh drinks to restaurants and hotels) was eaten up by the stinging recession. At the time, I was dad to one little boy – Archie.
I had always been a creative spirit. If I am honest, I didn’t like the business world at all. Becoming a stay-at-home dad was an incredible experience for me. It was a difficult time, as I struggled to find a new direction. But the time I spent with Archie at the time was priceless.
We found ourselves spending a lot of time hanging out in the kitchen. I had always been a good cook, passionate about food. The part I hadn’t bargained for was how much I enjoyed having my little toddler in the kitchen. At a time when ideas were coming, going, and not proving fruitful, I began to film the two of us in the kitchen – just as a little creative diversion, to keep me sane really. I popped a few of them online and the reaction was phenomenal and, soon after, My Daddy Cooks was created.
I still had no perceivable job or business but I was loving being with Archie and doing the videos together.
Then there was a bit of a whirlwind. Archie found himself on the front page of the London Evening Standard, we were on BBC News and, soon after, I signed a book deal with Hodder & Stoughton. This most accidental of careers was taking shape. As a food writer, my reputation grew as someone who creates simple, foolproof, unfussy, family friendly recipes – fun to cook together, and eat together too. There was no re-inventing of the wheel – my recipes are classics which get stripped down and given the “My Daddy Cooks” treatment.
In 2010, I proposed an idea for a food radio show to BBC Three Counties Radio and the Weekend Kitchen was first aired in August of that year. It is still on, every Sunday morning. I had discovered an absolute love for radio and was thrilled when I took over weekday afternoons in 2012 too, meaning I can now be heard on air 6 days per week.
My second book came out in 2014. I continue also to work extensively with brands, creating exclusive campaigns for them, and I regularly cook at food festivals with the kids. 2014 also so me and the kids starring in a Sainsbury’s TV advert.
To this day I find it crazy how this career came about. Maybe it was just the fact that this was the one idea which didn’t have a plan. The accidental idea. Being a published food-writer, a presenter, a radio broadcaster allows me to be creative every single day of the week. That brings its stresses (my obsessive attention to detail and never-stopping brain ensure that) but I have never been happier in my professional life. And every day, I know how lucky I am to have a “job” I am so passionate about and which gives me so much pleasure.