Michele Harper-Saunders celebrated her birthday at The Little Geranium

IT was a very special night at The Little Geranium in La Cala de Mijas last Saturday when Michele Harper-Saunders celebrated her birthday.

Michele, wife of celebrity chef Steven Saunders and co-owner of The Little Geranium, and front of house at the restaurant enjoyed an intimate evening with her mother Katherine (who had flown over especially from the UK) and two of her closest friends.

Steven exceeded his already high standards, producing a 10 course vegetarian menu for these very close guests and recognising her love for shoes, one of the courses consisted of Tempura avocado served in a very glittery pair of high heels.

Michele as ever looked delightful in a figure hugging blue dress and Steven of course was wearing his trademark trilby hat whilst cooking not just for the birthday group but for a packed restaurant.

It is a mark of the quality of The Little Geranium that the kitchen is open to view and Steven always makes a point of chatting with all of his guests as the evening proceeds although understandably, he was very anxious to ensure that his wife and business partner was able to enjoy her special evening off.

Michele is also a qualified dance and fitness teacher and at her Michele Harper Academy offers a large range of different classes including very popular Pilates training so for more information on this side of a versatile lady, visit the Academy Facebook page.

The couple have seen a great start to the year as The Little Geranium has just been voted Best Contemporary International Bar & Restaurant Costa del Sol by the prestigious Lux Magazine which for a restaurant been open for just three years is a great achievement as is the fact that the restaurant is constantly in the Trip Advisor top 10 restaurants (out of more than 100 eateries of different types) with a huge number of four and five star reviews.

This is a restaurant that serves Michelin star quality food using the freshest of ingredients and incorporating Steven’s decades of experience which have seen him learning at some of the top London restaurants before running a number of successful venues, appearing on TV as one of the first Celebrity Chefs and writing 10 cook books.

Having moved from the UK just a few years ago with his partner and nowwife Michele (following a delightful ceremony in Mijas), he originally expected to retire and perhaps return to writing cook books but the need to be back in the kitchen proved too great and the couple opened The Little Geranium, a bijoux restaurant with bar behind the town hall in La Cala de Mijas.

Steven lives to cook and is always looking to create new dishes as well as introduce and refine dishes from his past when he was cooking for celebrities and members of the Royal Family.

The couple have just returned from St Lucia where they combined a restful holiday with a general tour of the Island’s best restaurants, so there may well be a touch Caribbean appearing in the kitchen over the next few weeks.

The Chef is a mine of stories from his long career and produces a weekly page in Euro Weekly News in which he entertains with snippets about his meetings with some very well-known faces but also shares one of his favourite recipes with readers who have the chance to put together, at no cost, a Little Geranium cookbook of their own.

For those who don’t know all about Steven’s pedigree it is worth explaining that after training at the Savoy Hotel in London he became the chef patron at the 15th Century Coaching Inn in Essex at just 19 years of age.

He then managed to obtain a 100 per cent bank loan and opened his first restaurant The Pink Geranium in Cambridgeshire in 1986 which to some extent has been the inspiration for The Little Geranium.

His exceptional restaurant went on to win Michelin awards as well as becoming a favourite of Prince Charles and Princess Diana who was so impressed with his crispy duck that he still produces a version of the dish here in Spain.

Despite having become a media personality, with regular appearances in the early editions of TV’s Ready Steady Cook as well as other cookery programmes Steven found time to open The Sheene Mill Hotel near Cambridge (which his daughter now runs) and a number of other restaurants including Steven Saunders in Newmarket the first 100 per cent accredited organic restaurant.

Before moving to Spain with his new partner Michele, this charismatic and creative chef became CEO of Silverstone Hospitality based at the Silverstone Racing Circuit Northamptonshire, operating all hospitality for Silverstone 365 days, F1 and Moto GP.

If you want to enjoy a never to be forgotten meal presented by this Fellow of the Master Chefs Association (of whom there are only around 30 worldwide) then bookings may be made on line at this award winning restaurant by visiting their website http://www.thelittlegeranium.com or calling 952 493 602.