Diana was born and brought up in Northern Ireland, where being described as a “good cook” meant being a good baker. As soon as she could reach the counter top and hold a wooden spoon, she began to make fairy cakes, melting moments and peppermint creams and she has never looked back.
Her love of food was consolidated on a student exchange visit to France but she still didn’t plan on turning her passion into a career. After reading English Literature at Oxford University, she moved to London to take a post-graduate course in journalism. Her flat was surrounded by Turkish and Greek cafes, and she fell in love with the food of the region after coming across a copy of Claudia Roden’s A New Book of Middle Eastern Food. From Monday to Friday, she worked at the BBC but her weekends were spent cooking. Determined to improve her skills, she enrolled in Leith’s School of Food and Wine where she completed the year-long diploma course.
After the birth of her first child, Diana realised it would be difficult to combine the demands of television production with those of a small baby and submitted her first piece of food journalism to House and Garden magazine. Her first book, Crazy Water Pickled Lemons, came out in 2001 and, following publication of her second, The Gastropub Cookbook, she was offered a job at The Sunday Telegraph. Her column has appeared in the paper’s Stella magazine for the last 10 years. She has now written eight cookery books and also contributes to Country Living, Saga magazine and Waitrose Weekend. She appears regularly on radio and television and is a judge on this year’s BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards. Diana has just been signed up by BBC Good Food magazine.
In recent years, she has become fascinated by Nordic cuisine – an interest she is keen to pursue on our Discover Iceland’s Modern Kitchen tour.
Diana has twice been the Guild of Food Writers’ Cookery Journalist of the Year and Fortnum and Mason named her Food Writer of the Year in 2013. In May 2016, she travelled to Chicago where she was presented with a James Beard Foundation Book Award – in the Single Subject category – for her collection of chicken recipes, A Bird In The Hand.