Profile of Cynthea Gregory

 

Cynthea Gregory, who develops recipes and writes cookbooksI love my life in France! In the beginning, having moved there with my then new husband, life wasn't easy. I didn't speak a word of French. I'd been thrown out of French lessons at school because of lack of language ability. We were living in a very beautiful part of France, in the vineyards of the Loire Valley, but I didn't know a soul. Naturally, I'd left all my family and friends behind in England. The French way of life was very foreign to me. France may only be a few miles across the Channel, but the customs, people and life are very different. Hiding away 10 hours a day, in the lovely stone house which we were renting, whilst my husband was at work, was certainly not my style.

However, I had chosen this new path and I had to endeavour to make it work for me. Very soon new opportunities arose, as I always thought that they would. I threw myself into them and enjoyed the adventure of learning a wonderful new language and making a new set of friends. I now have French friends, as well as those of other nationalities. I learnt to adapt to and eventually adopt a new way of life.

And the books? They started with a visit to a goat farm. We currently live in a region renowned for its delicious goats' cheese. Even though there are only 200 inhabitants residing in our village, there are 4 goat farms in the village, and many more close by. So, naturally being an inquisitive person, I had to visit them to find out about their produce, admire their large herds of goats, and be amused by their antics. I had to sample their creamy cheese and even though I hadn't been a great cheese eater, I loved it!

I started devising my own recipes for it and collecting recipes from friends and neighbours. Consequently I began creating my own data base of recipes on the computer. Having taught cookery in Britain, I used my aquired knowledge and skill to create my own recipes. I started to become passionately interested in French cookery, both traditional and gastronomic.  I attended cookery classes in a local hotel château and in restaurants in Tours. All of this meant constantly meeting new people, learning new skills, broadening my horizons and seeing more of France.

Researching the cookery book market, I discovered that, despite the popularity of goats' cheese in France, there was a shortage of recipe books based on it. That was it!  I put a selection of my devised recipes onto discs and started sending them out to French publishers.  I ask myself now, how was I pretentious enough to think that I could teach the French anything about cooking, but I was very much encouraged by my husband and friends and felt I had little to lose by trying.

My life is always busy, especially in the summer. What with teaching English in the village, and running a holiday cottage and a Bed and Breakfast with my husband, there is not a lot of time to spare. However, I ensure that I find time every week to work out new recipes, try them out, and take photographs of them.  As well as a passion for cuisine, I adore travelling, and dining out in new restaurants. This has very much influenced the creation of my recipes.

 

Our holiday cottage "La Grange des Hirondelles"

Our Bed and Breakfast "Chambres les Hirondelles"

 

 

At work in my kitchen Goats Signing copies of Le Chevre en Folie English lesson