She’s renowned for her beautiful, gluten-free cakes, bakes and puddings, which use ancient flours and fruits and honey to give sweetness. Amber is the daughter of New Zealand¹s leading pioneer of sustainable organic agriculture and heritage seed saving. She grew up in an agricultural counterculture, given freedom and independence from a young age to wander through abundant orchards and kitchen gardens to create seasonal family treats and meals. With her mother growing over 800 varieties of largely unknown fruits and vegetables Amber has been given an education in seasonal gardening, table cooking, butchering, preserving and baking from the moment she was able to skip from kitchen to garden and reach for the whisk. Amber currently lives in Wiltshire and has a 9-year-old son. She is a qualified Doula and loves getting lost in the woods.
Who inspires you and why? The strong women in my life inspire me, everyone from my mum through to my girlfriends. Strength, courage, kindness, creativity and openness are the qualities that I find inspiring and the ability to dream big and go for your dreams even when it means putting some things to the side in order to move forward in the right direction. My Aunty Viv Maidaborne, she has always been an inspiring leader to me. She recently created one of the world’s first and best online democratic decision making tools. My Aunty just rocks in all ways and is my go-to person for advice in business and in general, really.
Who is your call-a-friend and why? My call-a-friend is my delicious darling friend India Waters. She always makes me laugh even when no one else can… she is everything I could ask for in a friend: loyal, loving, patient, hot, funny and kind.
Who from the past do you wish you could have dinner with and what would you cook them? Emmeline Pankhurst. She tirelessly fought for women’s rights and campaigned for women to get the vote. I would cook her a three-course summery meal served outside on a warm summer’s evening with lanterns and flowers everywhere, with delicious and delightful things to eat.
Whose music do you just have to dance to? I love a bit of rock ‘n’ roll, so probably The Rolling Stones.
Where is a sacred place for you or makes you feel connected? In nature, raw natural places that allow me to plug in and connect. New Zealand, in the wilderness, on the beaches, in the surf, under waterfalls, riding horses into the mountains. Ibiza, swimming in the crystal clear waters and scrabbling over the rocky coastline at sunset. In the Savernake forest in Wiltshire, lost in the woods for hours with only the trees, the birds and squirrels for company.
What was the food of your childhood? My mother has one of the largest heritage seed collections in the world, she has over 800 varieties of rare and largely unknown fruit and veg so we ate all year round from her incredible garden. I was always climbing up fruit trees after school for a peach or fossicking in the veg patch for delicious things to eat straight from the garden. It is what has inspired my life long obsession with delicious seasonal food.
What is unusual in your fridge? Fermented foods i.e. sauerkraut, kefir, home made Kimchi and always a jar of bone broth… I am obsessed!
What are your favourite kitchen gadgets? I love my Vitamix, it does almost everything for me. I also love good quality wooden spoons, I buy them from a guy in London (secret location) who imports them from Morocco and they are hand carved from orange wood. I love good quality spatulas and peelers.
Who do you most like inviting to supper and why? My dear friend Rowan Sommerville. He is as obsessed about food and pleasure as I am so it’s always a decadent delicious feast.
What is your guilty pleasure? Willie’s Chocolate. I know the people who make it and I am TOTALLY obsessed, the lime and ginger is sublime.
What’s the fruit or vegetable you would choose to write an ode to and why? I couldn’t narrow it down to one but could group summer stone fruit together and that would please me until the end of time… Sun-ripened peaches, nectarines, white flat peaches and apricots straight off the tree, juicy, sweet, sensual and delicious, need I say more?
What is your least favourite food? Offal. Yuck!
What herb do you love the most, why, and what do you use it for? I probably use parsley the most, but I am obsessed with all herbs. I eat them just as they are by the bunch load. Parsley is added to everything from eggs and bone broths to salads, stews, casseroles and I also love to make gremolata with it which is delicious sprinkled over almost everything!
Whose home do you love to visit? My friend Vanessa’s amazing little Goan beach house right on Anjuna beach. She lives there five months of every year and I miss her terribly when she goes, even though we are both terrible at keeping in touch.
Do you have a favourite therapist you see regularly? Yes! My facialist Vivienne Talsmat works in London from her home. She gives the best facials that are combined with top science, hot stone massage, healing, nutrition advice and a huge dose of love. She gets the best results and it’s total heaven.
What are your three most-used beauty products? Coconut oil, rose water and mascara.
What are your three most decadent, pampering bathroom goodies? Neom organic bath oils, magnesium salts and organic essential oils for adding to carrier oils to moisturise my body.
How have you made your house a home? I have always loved nesting no matter where I am in the world, this is very important to me. I make my house a home with good food, candles, delicious linen, music, friends, books, natural finishes i.e. wood, marble, natural fibre rugs, silks and cotton as opposed to anything cold, hard, plastic or artificial. I love good lighting and always something delicious to eat on the stove and a cake in the oven.
Where are you at 10pm on a Saturday night, what’s it like and what are you doing? I usually spend the weekend recovering from my insanely busy weeks. I like to spend time with my son as sometimes during the week we don’t have time to just relax and watch a family film, so Saturdays at 10pm can be spent on the sofa with home-made popcorn. Otherwise I like to go to friends’ houses in the countryside for weekends and then it’s spent around a table with lots of good food and delicious wine and chatting.
What is a treat night out for you? Heels and a pretty summer dress and dinner with friends at La Paloma in Ibiza.
What is a treat night in for you? A fridge full of delicious food, someone to share it with, a massage at home then a movie with tea and chocolate.
What do you know now that you wish you had known 20 years ago? It’s taken me a long time to find what I really want to achieve in the world. I am only really just starting that journey now but it’s been a culmination of my childhood and everything I have learnt in my life that has got me to this point. I wish I knew that I could do what I am doing now back then, I would have started earlier… writing and bringing awareness about health and food together.
Who are you? Who am I?… when I find out I will let you know… Life is a journey and hopefully we never stop learning and growing and evolving… I’ll keep you posted…
What’s your spirit animal? The animal that most signifies your character… A wolf, they are fierce, loyal, loving and put family first. They are community-minded and playful.
What’s your favourite poem, motto or mantra? Keep going, never give up. Never.