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Hi, Let me introduce myself, I’m Maggie, aka Mrs Calabash.


Over the years I’ve lived a varied and wonderful life. Nothing has been planned. At the age of 19, graduated from Sheffield Hallam University, UK, culinary department as a home economist and cookery demonstrator. I also earned my teachers certification.


This has lead to many unexpected adventures, from teaching cookery and house-craft in a psychiatric hospital, loved it, and helping the girls in borstal institution with their cooking skills to name two.

Moving to rural Ireland, learning how to cook over an open fire with a Jack, getting the water from a roadside pump, and taking the kids to school in a donkey cart along with my faithful basset hound Gossip.


Returning to England, I started a mail order business selling herbs and spices, which expanded into my own bread mix, spice rubs etc. I bought a market stall and then added my own recipes for preserves, chutney’s and the like. This lead to craft and agricultural shows all over the north of England. I then became a partner, with a distributor, producing my own line of products called Cottage Delight which we sold to Harrods, Macie’s and The Queen. I was the research, creative and manufacturing side producing private labels for others.

So off to France, intending to manufacture, but instead opened a Salon de Thé, which quickly became a full English licensed restaurant, Maggie May’s. I should say I didn’t speak the language but quickly learned.


My late husband wanted to return to Canada where he’d previously lived, so here we arrived with our 15 year old, a dog and two cats. Life was hard in Canada as a new immigrant, so I cleaned houses, and took whatever work was available. again started manufacturing on a small scale, and was lucky some customers here and in the states remembered me, so life was good. 


Fate had another thing in store, unfortunately, Norman developed terminal cancer, so I had to give up manufacturing, but this led me to working with the cooking schools for a large grocery chain, which I became a cooking school coordinator for many years.


Then I met Derek. He’d produced a very successful T.V cookery series, and the rest history, so instead of vegetating in our 70’s we’re off on a new thrilling, nail-biting adventure.