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Gran's crumble sparked my love affair with food.


Restaurant owner Jak is in no doubt she owes her passion for cooking to her maternal grandmother.

Her earliest memory of learning how to cook involved being sent by her gran, Helen Duffy, to pull rhubarb from her back garden for crumble.

Helen Duffy Jak, owner of The Sisters restaurants in Kelvingrove and Jordanhill, Glasgow, said: "At the age of just four, she told me to pull the rhubarb in the garden. Initially, I thought I was getting the short straw but my reward was a stick of rhubarb in a poke of sugar. Well, I was in heaven.

"Then low and behold, an hour later, I was told to come in and there was homemade rhubarb crumble hot and bubbling out of the oven.

"To this day, that image is one of my strongest food memories and every time I see rhubarb, I think of that moment and of helping my gran."

Mum-of-two Jak, who last year made it to the final round of Great British Menu, says when she was 14 her gran encouraged her to choose cookery at school over French.

She said: "I loved languages and had planned to study Spanish, Italian and French at school.

"But my gran was horrified and almost forced me into taking food and nutrition. I loved the class and went on to Motherwell College to study hospitality and do professional cookery courses.

"From there, I became a chef and, when I eventually got fed up with head chefs shouting at me all the time, I decided to set up my own business.

"Even in the restaurant, I do a lot of things the way my gran taught me - from the soups I make to drying out a clootie dumpling recently by taking it home and putting it on a stool in front of our open fire as we needed it to be ready for the next morning.

"My gran died when she was 84 and I was only 14 so she never knew I went on to become a chef but I know she would be quite proud."


GRAN Helen Duffy

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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 26, 2015
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