When Vanessa was nine, her parents bought a house in rural south-west France, just 60 yards away from the busy village bakery. The bakery supplied all the bread for miles around and was right the heart of the community, and spent every spare moment of her childhood working in the village bakery. Aged 18, she qualified as a baker and a chef in the UK, but there were no ‘real’ bakeries. Returning to France, she worked in a restaurant in Paris for a summer and then spent a further year as a baker’s apprentice in the Dordogne. Vanessa worked in hotels and restaurants for a further six years, and completed a degree in Psychology of Human Communication. For a number of years she worked outside the food industry, while avidly baking treats for board meetings, but decided to return to her original love of baking and writing once her youngest daughter started nursery. Unsurprisingly, Vanessa’s specialist subject is sourdough and baking with wild yeast. She is category leader of the sourdough section of The World Bread Awards and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme, and the resident baker for Bakerybits. Day to day she teaches sourdough bread making at The Sourdough School in Northamptonshire.
Vanessa’s later book is Food for Thought, published by Kyle Cathie