1 amazing career is difficult enough- but 2 interesting ones? Wow!
Last summer, I visited the Lake District for the first time (for shame!) and stayed at the Corner Beech House (Grange Over Sands) where I had THE BEST breakfast I’ve ever had in my 30 years of staying at B & Bs! And, no wonder. It’s run by the lovely couple, Karen & Peter. Before taking over Corner Beech, Peter used to be a chef at Hyatt Hotels. His work with them took them all over the world (including at Mezzanine, Hyatt Singapore, which I used to eat at when I was growing up there) Their life story is so fascinating- travelling the world, doing something you love…- that I asked to interview them for the blog and they kindly agreed 🙂
The amazing couple
Tell us a little about yourselves
We met, and fell in love in Keswick (another town in the Lake District) about 35 years ago. To us, and especially Peter, being Cumbrian born, the Lakes have always been a very special place. Although we left England for Australia 30 years ago, the ancestral connection has always been very strong. When we returned to the UK eighteen months ago, we felt instantly at home. We have been lucky enough, through our work, to have travelled the world. We consider ourselves to be very fortunate in this regard. We have learned so much from different cultures. Travel really does open the mind, and makes one more tolerant and grateful.
How & why did you (Peter) become a chef?
As a young boy I loved to help my mother with the cooking. I developed a real passion for cooking. As soon as I was old enough I followed my passion and became an apprentice chef.
I don’t think of myself as being super picky with food, but I guess as a Singaporean, what I/we think of as “not picky” is, to the rest of the world, pretty picky 😛 I actually make notes about which places to avoid/ return to/ try, and HATE eating at places with bland food. So I hope it counts for something- a teeny little bit?- when I say I LOVED every breakfast I had at Corner Beech, including the standard English breakfast. Usually I think of the breakfast fry up as a terrible waste of calories- uninteresting and so fattening- but Peter’s English breakfast was not oily, yummy and a terrific way to start the morning. And don’t get me started on his eggs & tomato breakfast- the thought is making me salivate now! 😛
PS They also have great tips on where to eat locally- much more trustworthy than the ones on Tripadvisor!
Cooking has taken both of you around the world, something many of us would envy! ( Including me!) How did you make that first move overseas and any lessons/ interesting moments from your Worldwide lives that you’d like to share?
My first overseas posting was part of a brigade heading to the West Indies. Sometimes working in a different country with a different culture can be a little intimidating and over-whelming. We’ve always be able to embrace the new experience, and have always immersed ourselves into the local culture. This has always helped us to make the most of our time in these new and different places.
Any advice for others who’d like to travel the world with their careers?
Carpe Diem, seize the day. Make the most of your time in these places, and connect with the local people. If you have local friends, your experience will be much enhanced.
And now you have a B&b with a super yummy breakfast! Best and worst stories of B&b-ing?
The best part of running a bed and breakfast is the wonderful people that you meet. I haven’t come across anything as being worst or bad, so I can’t really say.
Grange is a little off the track in the Lake District. Top 3 reasons you’d recommend travellers visit?
Grange is a very beautiful Victorian Town. It’s very unique and extremely pretty. The South Lakes are much softer than the North. You will find the most beautiful gentle walks in this part of the Lake District. Also if you like grand houses and grand gardens there are lots to visit. Not to mention Cartmel is 5 minutes away, so great for foodies, and those who like the races.
Note: I also wrote a blog post on my top 5 recommendations for Grange Over Sands
Any advice for people considering their own B & B?
It is fun, but at the same time it’s hard work. It’s quite physical, with not much down time during the day. The best way around this though, is to schedule a few days off, when you’re not so busy.
Gorgeous view from Corner Beech B & B
For other interviews of people with cool jobs, check out this feature of Agata, who moved to Italy to blog full time!
Peter & Karen have also kindly shared 1 of their recipes with us- in the keeping of my blog’s “easy DIYs”, I’ve asked for something with 5 steps or less and they’ve provided this yummy sounding muffin/cupcake recipe. In fact, I know it’s yummy as Karen kindly packed some for me to take out with me as I explored Grange! 🙂 (Thank you!!)
Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffin Recipe (20 min prep + 30 min baking)
- 2 1/2 cups (310g) self raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup ( 220g) castor sugar
- 1/2 cup (130ml) milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (130ml) vegetable oil
- 150g fresh raspberries (or blueberries like me!)
- 150g white chocolate bits
3 easy steps
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease or line 12 muffin cups.
- In a bowl, mix together baking powder, sugar and flour. In separate bowl, mix the oil, egg, milk and vanilla. Slowly mix the flour mixture into the egg mixture, mixing well.
- Mix in the raspberries and the chocolate, mixing well. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Liked this recipe? Another quick baking recipe is this 10 minute cookie recipe by River Cottage