Photo Copyright: John Paul Photography

About Ghillie


“Ghillie Basan is an exceptionally talented individual and an unsung hero of the culinary world in Scotland and beyond. A gifted and prolific writer, cook, presenter, recipe developer, storyteller, tourism provider and so much more, she plays a key role in the country’s food, drink and tourism landscape.”
Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food, Food and Drink Scotland


I am a writer, broadcaster, and food anthropologist with fingers in several pies! As a single parent living off the beaten track in the Scottish highlands it is the only way to survive.  In the media, I have been dubbed ‘The Original Spice Girl’ and ‘World Food Expert’ and my internationally acclaimed books have been nominated for the Glenfiddich Award,  Guild of Food Writers Award, and the Cordon Bleu World Food Media Award, as well as appearing regularly in the ‘Best of the Best’ and ‘Top 50’ lists.

My food and travel articles have appeared in the Sunday Herald, Scotland on Sunday, The Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Tribune, Press & Journal, BBC Good Food Magazine, TasteTurkey, Eatinmagazine, Diet & Nutrition USA, Middle Eastern Travel and various internet sites and magazines.  As a broadcaster I have many BBC Radio credits presenting and contributing to a variety of food programmes

I spent my childhood in East Africa and my teenage years at boarding school in Scotland, followed by a Cordon Bleu Diploma in London and a BSc in Social Anthropology from Edinburgh University. Having worked and travelled in Europe, Turkey, the Middle East, North America, India, Southeast Asia, and vast chunks of Africa as an English teacher, journalist, and food and travel writer, my interests and experiences have culminated in more than 40 books and numerous articles on different culinary cultures. I am also the author of The Moon’s Our Nearest Neighbour, an amusing account of my tough lifestyle in my remote outpost where, snowbound in winter with a 3 mile ski to and from the car to bring in supplies, I have single-handedly raised my two children while maintaining an international career.


‘Any encounter with Ghillie leaves you astonished by her knowledge, fascinated by her stories and most of all, hungry, very, very hungry!
Pennie Latin, Senior Producer and Presenter, BBC Radio Scotland


At my remote home in the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands, I run a holiday cottage Wilderness Retreat so that people can enjoy my peaceful surroundings; I also run relaxed and inspiring Cookery Workshops which I describe as ‘taking people on a food safari” looking at the traditions and tastes of different cultures; I have a catering business Mezze on the Move hosting groups at my home and other remote locations, as well as at corporate events; and I host whisky experiences in my traditional barn. As an Expert on the food and flavours of different culinary cultures and the complexities of Food and Whisky Pairing, I have hosted VIP events and created a special foraging and food experience for the Chivas Masters 2018 Scottish tour. I was also selected to work with the Brand team at Pernod Ricard to strip back the aromas and flavours of the new whisky, Captain’s Reserve, to create a taste toolkit as well as a unique tasting experience of carefully paired finger food and regional menus for the global market.


Jade Nina Sarkhel


I won the Highlands and Islands Award for Innovation in Tourism 2017, which led to recording a GPS based audio app – Cooking in the Cairngorms – for the award sponsors, Geotourist Ltd. And my new book, Spirit and Spice (Kitchen Press) is now available. It embraces my lifestyle off the beaten track, enjoying food with family and friends, cooking indoors and out, using local and wild produce and paring it with whisky wherever possible. Spirit & Spice is also the name of my exciting new Podcast and Blog. In fact, Spirit & Spice is now my brand name.


“More domestic river sprite than domestic goddess, Ghillie seems completely at home in the wilds …. She’s upbeat and realistic.”
 (Scotland on Sunday)


Classic Turkish Cookery
‘In this superb book Ghillie Basan brings the best of both regional and Ottoman court cuisines together. Her observations on the roots of Turkish cuisine make this book more than a mere recipe collection.’
(Skylife: Turkish Airlines)


To get in touch with me to cater for an event, to hire as a global food advisor or to book a workshop, please go to the contact page.