WOMEN OF MARLOW | Amber Thoresen
Welcome to our eighth 'Women Of Marlow' blog - a series where we interview like-minded women in business. This week, we go to know the wonderful Amber Thoresen, recipe developer and chef for My Food Bag, where she shares her guilty pleasures, personal obsessions and her best advice for aspiring chefs.
How did your culinary career start and why did you want to become a Chef?
I have always loved to eat. I have fond memories of being young and picking things to bake on the weekend. Food was, and still is, super important in my family. My mum and even grandparents are great cooks. Even writing this I'm thinking about my Grammy's roast potatoes cooked in lard and picking the crispy bits off the bottom of the pan! I started working in hospitality when I was 14. I worked at the most beautiful Italian restaurant called Palazzo Roma (which sadly doesn't exist anymore), I was a waitress but loved the food, the vibe of the kitchen and how clever the chefs were. I just wanted to be them, and I felt so comfortable once I got in the kitchen that I never left. Currently, I work at My Food Bag as the head of culinary which is a little different to my hospo chef days, but I still cook a lot and I love how My Food Bag challenges me in different ways. I also have my side hustle and recipe blog - Amber Eats where I channel all my love for Italian cooking.
Can you describe your typical work day?
Working at My Food Bag is a world of excitement and 2 days are rarely the same. I do plan the menus and test and cook each week, but I am also lucky enough to be involved in other things from creating cookbooks to cooking in videos with the All Blacks or hosting events for recipe campaign launches. A typical day is always filled with eating a LOT of food. We test all the recipes here at least twice and there are not many meals I don't try. Usually, we roll out of The Development Kitchen each day so full. It's a tough gig but someone's got to do it.
How did your love for Italian food come about?
I love pizza. It's always been one of my favourite things to eat, and working at an Italian restaurant opened my eyes to so many new loves like risotto and pasta. I love how Italian food is so simple and relies on perfect seasonal ingredients that shine through and don't hide behind any fancy faff! I became really obsessed with it during the covid lock downs, especially pasta making. We eat a lot of pasta at home!
What’s your favourite thing to cook for other people?
I love cooking for people, it's how I show my love. I'm a feeder, haha. I love to cook everything and anything, but if I had to pick, it would be pasta. In fact it would be focaccia to start, some delicious pasta (currently loving making agnolotti) and then tiramisu to finish.
Away from the kitchen, what are your personal obsessions?
Does eating count? haha. It's very hard to say as the kitchen and cooking really are my life, but I have the cutest little British Blue cat that I am obsessed with. I have a wildly large cookbook collection and I love fishing and traveling.
Pictured: Left - Vacation Shirt - White, Static Panel Jacket / Right: Relay V-Neck Crop, Relay Flare Legging, Harmony Knit Shacket - Alabaster
How does Marlow fit into your lifestyle?
I'm a sneaker gal and all the clothes look amazing with sneakers. At My Food Bag we don't wear chef uniforms or anything like that, so I need to be comfortable if I need to cook but also look great if I need to pop upstairs to a meeting. Marlow is the perfect mix of comfortable and effortless cool.
What are your favourite pieces from the Marlow AW23 collection?
I'm obsessed with the Track Jacket and Track Cargo Pants in Olive Grove, worn separately or together. The Relay Flare Leggings, V-Neck Crop and the Birch Blazer in Black are also faves. I could have the whole collection in my wardrobe to be honest, I love how they all go together so well so you can easily mix and match but feel like you're wearing a fresh new outfit.
Guilty pleasures: What do you eat when nobody’s looking?
Controversial I know but I do love a really tacky terrible Hawaiian pizza. Pizza Hut's one with aioli swirl hits the spot.
Any advice for aspiring chefs out there?
Be passionate, stay curious and continuously practice your craft! Travel and eat alllllll the food, work in different kitchens, learn from lots of different chefs and foodies and then find your people! I most recently worked at The Engine Room and now My Food Bag. At both places I have never worked with so many talented, driven, amazing people, including some really strong awesome women! Being around amazing people makes me a better person.
Lastly, where and what would you order for your last meal on Earth?
This is the hardest question to ask a chef! If I were eating at home, it would be a roast chicken dinner with roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, peas, gravy, pretty much ALL THE BITS and a side of pizza. But if I were going out to eat one last thing, it would be the goat's cheese souffle from The Engine Room. I'm maybe biased as I worked there for 6 years but it's THE BEST.
You can shop all of Amber's looks in store or online now.