Charlotte Pike completed the 12 Week Certificate course in January 2014. Here's what she has been up to since:
When did Charlotte's Kitchen Diary. get up and running?
I first started blogging in 2009 for HELLO! Online and Charlotte's Kitchen Diary started in 2010 as a Blogger website. I went self-hosted shortly afterwards and then had a re-design in 2012. It's been going ever since.
When you finished the Ballymaloe 12 Week Certificate, what was the next step? How long before you launched your business?
I had already written three cookbooks by the time I went to Ballymaloe, and I decided to take the course to take my cookery skills to the next level and fill in the gaps in my knowledge.
What would you say were the key benefits or areas of influence the 12 week course had on your decision to start your own food business?
Of course I had admired the many well-known former students who are doing some really amazing things in food as a result of taking the course. But I knew that having trained professionally at such a reputable cookery school would stand me in good stead for whatever I chose to do next.
What have been the highlights and challenges of starting out on your own?
I left a secure and well-paid job to go into food, and you have to accept that you will loose the security and rewards you are accustomed to when you make the change. I work more hours now than I ever did, and you can rarely switch off when working for yourself, but I thrive on the satisfaction of doing a job well, being able to be much more flexible with my time. I love the fact that I can travel more and be a bit more spontaneous.
Who inspired you to become a food entrepreneur?
I had a very clear idea in mind of what I wanted to do, and that's what drives me to do what I do. I wasn't influenced or inspired by anyone else.
What are your plans for the coming year?
My next book, my fourth, is out worldwide on 27th August, called FERMENTED. It is my fourth book and was influenced by my time at Ballymaloe, where fermentation was an integral part of the course. I'll be busy promoting that and travelling around the world doing book signings.
Any advice for anyone considering doing the 12 Week Certificate?
It is very hard work but a lot of fun. Be prepared to take in a huge amount over the 12 week period as it is very intense both intellectually and physically. The experience is immensely rewarding and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about good food.
Charlotte's new book 'Fermented' is now available to buy on Amazon http://amzn.to/1MMnLm5