Hi! I'm Charley!
Kia Ora! I'm Charley, known to many as Charley Chop Chop.
Food has been a huge part of my life ever since I was a child growing up in Yorkshire, England (Known as God's Own Country just like New Zealand) with my Mum (Ma) and Dad and three sisters, Lou, Sophie and Emily> We had a large garden with a huge veggie plot Life Happened for us in the kitchen. We ate together at the kitchen table and there was even a set of rings in there! I learnt to cook standing on a stool next to Ma. Our kitchen was the heart of our home and I loved it, so there is no wonder I ended up becoming a chef.
My childhood was pretty idyllic. Our summers were hot and our winters were cold. We would spend every spare minute riding our bikes with glee and building dens in the hedgerows and we had a summer house that spun around where we would spend wonderful moments making perfume from rose petals and mud pies. This is where my true passion for nature comes from.
Being outside was my thing and I found school challenging so left when I was 16 and managed to bribe my Mum and Dad to send me to catering college where I qualified as a Cordon Bleu Chef.
I started working as a Commis Chef when I was 18. Those early years in a professional kitchen were tough but also brilliant. You learn to work hard under pressure and think on your feet to fix problems as they arise. These skills have been the back bone of my working life.
Highlights of my career have been setting up appetite direct with my business partner Nige Kennedy. It became, and still is, Edinburgh's leading catering company and we worked with clients like Jo Malone. Rolex. Ferrari and Armani. It was exciting, rewarding and really hard work and one of the most satisfying opportunities for me was teaching the young members of our team aka wee man. He was naughty just like me, but with guidance, commitment, encouragement and a lot of hard work he became a very good Chef to.
Love then brought me to Hamilton, New Zealand. There, I set up the first catering company of it's kind called Lunch Orders where we supplied healthy school lunches which parents ordered online to over 14 schools and 3 Early Childhood Centres.
As well as food, I love children and Charley Chop Chop was born five years ago when I started working as a chef in Early Childhood Centres. Nothing gave me greater pleasure than developing the children's taste buds and creating and supplying delicious and nutritious food every day for them as it had such a huge impact on their development and behaviour. I would often bring children into the kitchen to help me, just like my Mum had with me all those years ago and they quickly became called my cheffettes. Also, just like in my childhood home, we grew all of our own vegetables and we made a garden to plate philosophy for the children to support their learning. It was here that I felt inspired to write my self published cookbook Charley Chop Chop Shares Her Culinary Magic. I've been working with The Cheifs Rugby Team in 2018 inspiring children and their families to cook and eat healthy food.
My New Zealand journey began in 2007 and Nelson became home for a wonderful 3 years. We then moved to Hamilton for 8 years. I moved back to Nelson in April 2018. Nelson is such a beautiful place to live. The sun seems to shine almost everyday. I love the energy and creativity of this town and I find it such an inspiring place to live and work. I am now a qualified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and it's this that I want to share with you. It's brought together all the learning I have done throughout my life and now I hope to make a difference to your life to.
Be Brilliant with Charley is about supporting and inspiring you to be the best you can through coaching and practical help and support with health, nutrition and cooking.
Its your time to shine and be the sparkle you were born to be in the world, so Be Brilliant with Charley!
Join me in Love, Health and Wellness xx