My Story

“Food is life and who doesn’t want to live life to the fullest?!”

Why should you hire a personal chef?

Let me tell you.

Great food is the key to every social occasion and I passionately believe that you should be savouring delicious ingredients with friends and family, not stressing over the hor d’oeuvres!

To me, food is a celebration of life. It’s what brings people together, strengthening bonds and creating life-long memories. When we eat together, we’re firmly in the moment and nothing else matters but this shared, flavourful experience.

Culinary Occasions emerged from a personal desire to bring people together around a big table overflowing with tasty, gourmet food. You know what I’m talking about. Togetherness. Appetizing, delectable fare. What more could anyone want from life?

Being hands-on in the kitchen and getting involved in the garden were a big part of my childhood, even going so far as joining my father and brother in Whitehaven harbour to fish for seasonal catch and the odd crab. Not so much ‘field to table’ but ‘sea to table!’.

These early experiences instilled a deep appreciation of the ‘story’ of the food on my plate.

The budding chef in me began to flower and blossom.

And since then?

I’ve dedicated my life to giving people that one delicious memory that will last a lifetime, something they’ll think about that makes them smile. The memory of a meal that made their taste buds dance and sing.

Yvonne Gainford
Yvonne Gainford - Culinary Occasions

The Lakes is a veritable cornucopia of fresh produce and I am so incredibly fortunate to have a base in this foodie haven.

Serving tasty, local food to my guests, whether it’s a casual supper, a family picnic by the Lake, or a relaxing dinner party with friends, is what makes Culinary Occasions an utterly unique concept in the Lakes, a region where great food and stunning scenery collide.

My recipes are brimming with artisan Cumbrian ingredients like Solway Shrimp, Herdwick Lamb and Lythe Valley Damsons, not forgetting the favourite sweet dish of Cumberland Rum Nicky and Rum Butter.

Your plate will be a dedication to the best of Cumbria.

My food is all about having fun and I would be delighted to provide delicious Cumbrian Fayre for you.

So, for dining at home or your holiday property; family celebrations, corporate buffets, or just if you just want time off from the kitchen, contact me to discuss your requirements. I love being creative with the ingredients available so take a look at some of my dishes where you can create your own menu, or let’s have a chat and put a bespoke menu together for you.

Need more convincing?

“I wanted to take a moment to properly say thank you. Not only was your food amazing, but your presence in the house made the entire week feel even more special. Everyone loved getting to know you and the warm aromas that were created made us all feel truly at home. I hope we weren’t too much trouble for you!! I would be happy to share what an awesome experience you created for us.”
Sarah M, California, U.S.A.

you relax, we cook!

My food is all about having fun and I would be delighted to provide delicious Cumbrian Fayre for you

Culinary Occasions

Discover what Culinary Occasions has to offer


I could tell you so much about the wonderful places I've worked and the amazing food I have to hand, however I thought it best to ask someone
– so here's what some of my customers say:

There’s something pretty special about having Yvonne in your kitchen!

I’ve had lots of lunch buffets and one of the best I’ve had was Yvonnes. Delicious fresh, tasty plates of food and not a sandwich in sight!

Yvonne at Culinary Occasions has consistently provided us with a range of fresh, delicious and creative food for our corporate lunches (large and small) and has always been responsive to adapting her menus to cater for all food sensitivities. I would highly recommend Yvonne and Culinary Occasions to any company or private party

Personal chef Yvonne Gainford’s life has revolved around food; growing, fishing and cooking. Working with our guests on the menu, using locally grown produce, Yvonne effortlessly provides spectacular, Cumbrian inspired meals for all occasions. Choose a leisurely breakfast with homemade preserves, pancakes and a ‘full Cumbrian’, an informal lunch buffet, a surprise picnic lunch on the high fells , or a waiter served dinner where all you need to do is get dressed up then take your seat for a culinary wonderland