Creating food has always been my one true love. Growing up, I constantly helped my mother in the kitchen and would watch in awe as she prepared beautiful meals for our family. I would gladly help manage our garden where we grew fruit and vegetables, and accompany her to the farmer’s markets, local butcher shop and fishmonger where I learned about the importance of fresh ingredients. My love affair with food started at a very young age and food was never far from my thoughts, despite graduating as an engineer and working in management consulting and finance.
Anyone who knew me knew that aside from spending time with family and friends, my number one passion was cooking (closely followed by eating and balanced by working out). After spending thirty years of my life in a love affair with food, I decided to make a formal commitment to the culinary arts. I wanted to devote my life to creating food, and as a strong believer in education and preparation, I wanted to begin this next chapter of my life at Le Cordon Bleu in London - a lively, captivating and beautiful city with an abundance of food and culture. I wanted to study at Le Cordon Bleu because of its traditional structured approach of preparation using fresh and simple ingredients to create the most wonderful tasting dishes. I loved the discovery of balancing flavours while building a culinary foundation at the tried, tested and globally recognized Le Cordon Bleu.
After completing my Cuisine Diploma in December 2013, I was left inspired by some of the world’s most talented chefs. This motivated me to combine my existing engineering and business management skills with a love for fresh food and a mastery of the culinary arts to launch my own restaurant in a city I love. I wanted to make healthy food fun and exciting for busy Londoners who don’t always have the time to make meals from scratch so the idea for Maple was born! Maple is a healthy eatery and juice bar with it’s first location in Fitzrovia, Maple & Fitz, a second in the College of Naturopathic Medicine, Maple & CNM, and a third opening in King's Cross called Maple & King's (opening spring 2017). Maple has been named by TimeOut as “One of London’s Best Healthy Eateries” and has also been featured in The Telegraph, The Times and Conde Nast Traveler. We also work alongside brands like Nike, FCUK, Lululemon, Urban Outfitters and Simple Skin Care.
I have never been happier since becoming a chef and aside from running Maple, I am the resident chef for fashion retailer Mint Velvet, am a regular guest chef on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, mentor underprivileged women in entrepreneurship and teach natural cooking for corporate and private groups. It’s a lot of hard work, but I couldn’t ask for a more rewarding and fun career!
Follow Adria's Journey on Twitter and Instagram @mymapleandco and @adriawu.