Alison Taafe’s interest in all things culinary began at her old school, Ford Pitt Grammar for Girls in Chatham, in the county of Kent, United Kingdom where she excelled at cooking and sport.
It was with great excitement that Alison was accepted into the highly prestigious Westminster Hotel School which boasts other celebrity ex-students such as Jamie Oliver. Alison attributes much of her success as a chef to the vigorous training she received there. It was during this period she starred in the Channel 4 film entitled Salmon for Scotland.
Following graduation, Alison scored – at the age of 20 – a job as Head Chef with New York’s J P Morgan Investments branch in London which involved managing many of its boardroom kitchens.
From there, her culinary career took off with several overseas appointments in France, New York and Washington cooking for film stars, presidents, pop stars, sporting greats and even royalty.
Alison eventually decided to leave behind the high life and head for Australia where once again she was in demand. This time, the Western Australian Parliament was eager to have her services so she again found herself cooking for many dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth.
Eventually, she made her home in Queensland where she met and married Steve Taafe, who was a Warrant Officer in the RAAF at the time. Incidentally, he was the catering manager who interviewed her for the chef position for the Australian Pavilion at World Expo ’88. A career move of Steve’s later found them in Adelaide for three years where Alison was the chef at the Adelaide Town Hall and Festival Theatre. Brisbane drew back the couple in 1991 where Alison and Steve ran a gourmet catering business and delicatessen together. She is now a Leading Teacher of Professional Cookery at Southbank Institute of Technology.
The year 2004 saw Alison winning a Churchill Fellowship – the first chef ever to win the prestigious award – which took her to America for research in culinary arts. This was followed by her writing the first graduate program for Australian qualified chefs. Then in 2006, Alison claimed a further award of Outstanding Educator for the program that she wrote, which was a wonderful endorsement.
Even though she is a highly qualified and experienced chef, Alison still continues with her quest to find fun, fast and fabulous ways of producing fun, fast and fabulous food for dinner parties in the home.