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Many people think of me as some sort of celebrity cook, but in many important ways I’m just like you. I’m a hardworking mother who runs her own home, does her own cooking, and tries hard to stay healthy and keep control of my weight by cooking and eating the right foods. (And, yes, I’m also a former model and actress, and the former wife of Nick Rhodes, founding member and keyboard player of Duran Duran.)
Today, I own The Roving Stove Personal Chef Service in Los Angeles. From the start, this satisfying business has brought me pleasure while winning respect from my culinary peers. In 2003, I won the Golden Whisk Award for “Best Newbie Personal Chef”; and I received the Personal Chefs Network Pacesetter Award in May 2005. My recipe for Jewels (that’s my nickname) Turkey-Jasmine Burgers was declared “Best Poultry Burger in America” on the Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown in 2008, and the Personal Chefs Cooperative made me its Featured Entrepreneur of the month in January 2010. My TV appearances also continue to grow, including Community Cooking, The Lost Chronicles of Food and the Cooking Channel’s Food(ography).
I’ve come a long way since my childhood in Des Moines, Iowa, yet a career in cooking makes me feel like I’ve also returned to my solid midwestern roots. After moving to Los Angeles as a young woman, I began a 15-year international modeling career during which I was photographed by some of the world’s greatest fashion photographers and appeared in such magazines as W, Elle, British Vogue, and Interview Magazine. I met my future husband, Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, at a party, and in 1982 we moved to London.
Years of touring with the band while also modeling enabled me to pick up recipes and cooking techniques from around the world. Our love for entertaining helped me hone those skills among my friends and food-savvy critics. The birth of my daughter, Tatjana, inspired my enduring interest in and commitment to healthy eating.
After my divorce from Nick, I returned to Los Angeles in 1998, where I worked as an actress. I also began giving dinner parties and, to my delight, my friends not only praised my cooking but also encouraged me to pursue a career in food.
The timing was fortuitous. L.A. had become an important culinary destination and there was always an abundance of fresh, local ingredients. Modestly, but with great purpose and planning, in 2002 I launched The Roving Stove personal chef service. It took off immediately, as I planned and prepared weekly meals for a full roster of clients ranging from busy families to A-list actors, athletes, and musicians.