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’  but really I’m simply a hospitable hermit!  I love to live a little bit wild but I also love to share what I have.

I spent my childhood in East Africa and my teenage years in Scotland, followed by a Cordon Bleu Diploma in London and a degree in Social Anthropology from Edinburgh University. After working and travelling 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, I returned to the Scottish Highlands. Here, in  a remote part of the Cairngorms National Park I have gradually turned a ruined croft into a home where, snowbound in winter with a 3 mile cross-country ski to and from the car to bring in supplies, I have raised my children on my own.

I have written over 40 Books on different culinary cultures and some of these 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 in the UK and abroad. In addition to writing and radio, I run relaxed and inspiring Cookery Workshops  looking at the traditions and tastes of different cultures; I run a holiday cottage Wilderness Retreat so that people can enjoy my peaceful surroundings; and I work as a Flavour and Food Pairing Consultant for bartenders and chefs.


Spirit & Spice

Spirit & Spice has become the brand name for the Hospitality and Experience side of my business.

It is the name of my new website which focuses on the Food and Whisky Experiences I run for private and corporate groups at my home and other remote locations; it is the name of my food and drink Podcast; and it is the name of my most recent Book which 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.


‘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


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


If you would like to book a Workshop or an Experience, or to hire me as a Consultant please get in touch via the contact page.