Staff Profile: Denise D., ‘The Mixologist’

allspice-deniseThis is one of our series of profiles of the AllSpice staff. Today, we introduce you to Denise D.

AllSpice regulars will recognize Denise — she’s the one with the British accent, and the inexhaustible list of cooking ideas.

Background: I was worn in Aberdeen, Scotland, and grew up in the Isle of Man, which I still visit and consider my “other home.” I went to school and college in England. I am a qualified Princess Christian Nursery Nurse (aka nanny), and am now (mostly) retired. I spent many decades looking after other folks’ newborns and small children in various parts of the world.

How did you come to be part of the AllSpice crew? I had been in a foodie book group with Alex (AllSpice’s founder) for a few years. He had been talking about starting a spice store “for people like us,” for ages. When he told us that AllSpice was really going to happen, I half jokingly told him that I would be delighted to help out for “a few hours” a week. The rest, as they say, is history. I am officially the longest-serving member of the Spicettes other than (AllSpice co-founder) Jen.

What’s your official (or unofficial) title? Alex dubbed me the “mixologist.” I love to experiment with all the possible combinations of olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

Here’s a blog post with my rules-of-thumb for making a perfect vinaigrette.

Favorite ingredient in the store (or your “top five” if you can’t narrow it down to one)? Hmmm. Oils and Balsamic Vinegars, Rubs and Blends, aaaaand everything in between. That’s 5, right??

allspice-denise-amyWhat’s your favorite thing to cook — or what is your specialty? My favorite is whatever moves me at the moment. I like a challenge and love to feed people, so when you visit, come hungry and come often!

Dessert tends to make my creative side happy, baking keeps me under control, new recipes keep me interested and odd/unusual ingredients make me think. All good stuff!

When someone else is doing the cooking, what’s your favorite dish? I’m very easy to feed, and very appreciative, too. Just no porridge, rice pudding, or others of that ilk, please! Boarding school did me in on those British nursery staples.

Do you have a food that’s a guilty pleasure? Chocolate. Am I meant to feel guilty, though?

What do you do for fun, when you’re not having fun at AllSpice? My pals are major, as are my westies, Dougal, Rory, and Flora.

I love everything about food: talking/reading about it, cooking it and eating it. Nothing like curling up with a new cookbook and planning a dinner party! I play tennis and walk the dogs, and am to be found regularly joining Weight Watchers — again — and forever losing the same 20 lbs!

What about you would people find surprising? I’m shy by nature. I’ve battled it all my life.