My name is Charlotte, and I am a chef with over 15 years experience in catering, a mother of three wild children and an obsessive vegetable grower. I cook for people privately in their homes, holiday cottages and at events in the Lune Valley, Kirkby Lonsdale, Sedbergh and Dentdale areas of Lancashire and South Cumbria. When it came to deciding on a name for the business I thought ‘The Sunny Bank Kitchen’ would be perfect, being named after the land where we grow our vegetables and enjoy spending a lot of our spare time.
My obsession with food started as soon as I started cooking for myself and making my own food choices. As a child and adolescent I felt lethargic all the time, I was completely addicted to fatty sugary foods and I knew I had to change. Initially, I became obsessed with natural, healthy foods, eliminating poor quality processed foods from my diet. I then began to develop a strong desire to learn how to prepare wholesome, natural, but great tasting food.
I went to catering college and found a job in a wonderful small restaurant, where I worked for and was mentored by the Michelin-trained Andrew Brook – an amazing head chef that I will never forget.
I moved to Dentdale over 10 years ago and started working at The Sun Inn in Kirkby Lonsdale, where I ultimately became head chef. During my time there, each year, we were awarded an AA Rosette Award and featured in the The Michelin Guide for Pubs. I left The Sun Inn to start a family, and at that time started cooking for people privately in their homes or holiday cottages and have been doing so ever since.
I’d say the single most influential person in my life has been Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. A friend bought me The River Cottage Cook Book and it completely changed my life. It’s a book of ethics that makes you question everything about the way we produce food. I became hooked on his approach to producing food in a simple and respectful way and have followed that ethos throughout my life, choosing ethically produced, natural, organic food, as far as possible.
Now I take my inspiration from my own veg plot and the wonderful place that I live. Being in the Yorkshire Dales and just on the doorstep to the Lake District I have access to some great food producers. Most of the time I find myself fantasising about what wondrous things I can do with my fresh harvest or ingenious ways to encourage my little ones to eat more greens. I love simple, fresh, seasonal dishes that are healthy and nutritious.
Although I endeavour to use local, organic and seasonal produce wherever possible, there will inevitably be times when certain products and ingredients are unavailable.
All the food images on this website are real photographs of the food that I produce for my customers and the people in my life, and were produced by my husband, Matthew Kaunz – a freelance graphic/web designer who works under the name of Dentdale Design.
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