Darcy Fitzwilliam, Gelato Entrepreneur
I’m Darcy Fitzwilliam, formerly the Chef de Cuisine at Greengage, a fine dining establishment in London. Now I’m trying to start a Gelateria in my home village of Chesney Hardcastle in Hampshire, half way between Winchester and Southampton. My dad had a series of strokes and at the age of forty two I came home to help out my parents while dad convalesces. I’ve always hoped to have my own business, so I bought half of a seventeenth-century house that had been converted in the Victorian era into two shops on the ground floor with two flats above. Convenient to live above the premises.
Mum is the housekeeper at the “big house,” Castlebrooke Park and at the moment, my parents are living there with Lady Agatha Carstairs, her soon-to-be husband Victor Macdonald, and her rescue greyhounds, Wickham and Willoughby. Many of my fondest food memories are sitting in the manor kitchen while Mum cooked a Sunday roast or a game pie on the Aga. At eighteen I left to study accountancy, but after a few years as a chartered accountant I decided to enroll at the London Cordon Bleu. My parents were always supportive of my choices but I’d saved enough to be able to afford the fees, which was a relief all round.
Once I finished, I spent a year as a stagiaire in an auberge in the South of France, where I learned all about wine and labored for many an unpaid hour peeling veg that I never got to cook. Back in London I worked in various hotel kitchens, working my way up from commis to sous chef, finally getting to work for Wendy Greengage, an innovative chef whose restaurant has earned two Michelin stars.
While I love to cook anything from bangers and mash to French haute cuisine, to be honest, at home I’m as likely to get an Indian or Chinese takeaway. After long hours in the kitchen, I’m knackered and don’t have the energy to fix anything.