At the Cutting Edge author Slyvia Quenet-Chute

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Sylvia Quenet-Chute is the author of the cookbook ‘At the Cutting Edge’ which came out this month. She was born in Newcastle, England where her French great-grandfather settled and became a ship broker. Her working life was spent as an international advertising executive based in London and she travelled the globe most of her career.

She has lived with her husband in Marbella for nearly 25 years, but recently moved to Fuengirola. In Spain she has worked as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher.

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Sylvia has had a love of writing from a young age, writing for her school magazine and dreamed of being either a journalist or a pilot.

A food and travel enthusiast, she learnt her cooking techniques and knowledge from chefs, restaurateurs and contacts over a lifetime of adventures. Her main influences for food writing have been Elizabeth David and MFK Fisher.

‘At the Cutting Edge’ is a cookbook filled with an expansive collection of eclectic recipes from around the world. This is a cookbook that was designed “with the experienced cook in mind” and also provides interesting stories on how certain dishes came into being.

It is also riddled with quotes from famous figures and two quizzes; world cheeses and alcoholic beverages.

One of the ‘bon mot’s’ in her book accompanies the recipe for Dry Martini: “Sir Winston Churchill allegedly paused by the Martini bottle before passing on to the gin.”

The beginnings of the book started out with a fundraising event to raise money for Sylvia’s idea for stained glass for two small circular windows in St Andrew’s Church in Los Boliches.

“The church hall acts like a traditional British Village Hall and is used for all kinds of community activities including Line Dancing, Weight Watcher meetings, Bingo games, and coffee mornings, in addition to the Catholic and Anglican services and weddings.”

It was a during a talk given at NADFAS by British stained glass artists, Rod Friend, who lives in Almorza, that the idea came about.

To raise funds, she produced a ‘cook book plus’ which helped to raise a considerable amount of money towards the first window, which is now in place.

This was the impetus to have the second one made, which Rod is currently working on. She came up with the title from the times we live in. “It seems like these days the title could be applied to all types of things and situations, and seemed to me to be particularly appropriate for a book on cooking where one is cutting and chopping the ingredients.”

“’At The Cutting Edge’ is my first full length book and it has proved to be a fascinating journey.”

“It was hard to create time, and my schedule was quite erratic, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope to write another soon”

Sylvia designed the original soft back cover herself and was photographed by her friend, Andrew Barrett.

The new hard back edition was produced by the publisher’s art department.

She likes to bring a “light, humorous touch” to her writing so as to “entertain the reader”.

Syliva revealed she has received some excellent feedback from readers, and some have even bought several copies to give as gifts.

What is the nicest gift ever received? My engagement ring.

The book at your bedside? ‘Skin Tight’ by Carl Hiaasen (where did that come from!)

Object you would not part with? Not sure I can answer that easily.

Always in your fridge? White wine

Best thing about Spain? The coffee; chiringuitos, the weather (most of the time!) oh, lots of things.

Worst thing about life in Spain? Bureaucracy

Best? Lifestyle

Most recent big buy? Trying to resist ‘big buys’ – even ‘little buys’ – after the cost of moving house!

Greatest dislike in other? People who are ‘two faced’.

Any guilty pleasures? Bendick’s Bittermints (sshh!)

Are you a morning person? Yes

Favourite home meal? Roast dinner

What is close to your heart? Home

How do you most like to relax? With a good book

A recent find? A book, not new but new to me, lent to me by a friend – riveting! ‘The Africa House’ by Christina Lamb.

By Nicole Hallett

 

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