Thank you for visiting Gem with Relish. With your immense powers of deduction, you’ve probably worked out by now that I’m Gem. So why with relish?

Well somewhere circa 1981 I had probably watched Grease more than 500 times. My utter idol in the film was Rizzo, played by the impossibly perfect Stockard Channing. Her sassiness, toughness was only matched by her vulnerability and her hope to be loved. I too wanted to drive off into the sunset with Kenickie – John Travolta being far too obvious for my 10-year-old tastes! So, you may remember in the film, the scene where Rizzo, watching Danny squirm at the Frosty Palace, tells her to “Bite the weenie Riz” and she – without missing a beat, tells him “with relish”.

Whilst the younger me very much knew it was a slightly risqué comeback, but oh man, to be a girl who could fire a line back like that! I’m now nearly 49, I still can’t do retorts like that. Well actually I can, but I’m usually tucked up in bed 9 hours after I needed it…

I love that relish means with pleasure/gusto because food writing has truly become my bliss, alongside my other bliss of being the co-founder of our restaurant Gastrono-me in Suffolk.

But to be fair I could have easily called this blog the Condiment Queen, as I am entirely incapable of walking past that section in a supermarket. I’ve had to build a pantry just to house every weird and wonderful jar I’ve ever discovered; every mustard in creation, and don’t even get me started on horseradish sauce, chilli jams and relishes of every hue. Row upon row adorn my pretty – if not slightly sticky – shelves.

This place is not just somewhere to share my obsession with food – which I will of course – but to also share all the tales and dramas of owning and running a real live restaurant. My view from the other side of the pass if you will. How I come up with menu ideas, the thrill of seeing them work in a real restaurant environment and not just for a pretty photo shoot, and then the overwhelming joy of them becoming customers’ favourites.

I really hope that you’ll join me on this adventure of writing. To tempt you further, membership immediately initiates you as a Pink Lady (pure or not!)