A Half Baked Idea: How Grief, Love and Cake Took Me from the Courtroom to Le Cordon Bleu

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Fig Tree
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About the Author

Olivia Potts is an award-winning food writer and chef. She read English at the University of Cambridge and practised as a criminal barrister for five years before deciding to leave the bar for a career in food. In 2017, she graduated from Le Cordon Bleu and was awarded the Young British Foodies Fresh Voices in Food Writing Award. She was recently shortlisted for the Fortnum and Masons Cookery Writer of the Year Prze 2019. Now Olivia is the cookery columnist for the Spectator, and also writes for the New Statesman, the Guardian and the Telegraph, among others. A Half Baked Idea is her first book.


Do not read this book without a clean handkerchief and a full larder. I laughed, I cried, I baked gingerbread biscuits . . . Potts is a writer who clasps you to her floury bosom and wraps you in your apron strings. There is wit and warmth on every page. This is a book of courage, consolation and more custard than you can shake a whisk at--Laura Freeman, Times

I cannot express how much I adored this book. It made me laugh, cry, salivate and, on no less than four occasions, resolve to learn patisserie and leave the criminal Bar. Olivia Potts has delivered a tender and beautifully written tour-de-force on the four tenets of the human experience; love, grief, hope and cake. If this is not the book of the summer, I will eat my wig. An absolute triumph--The Secret Barrister

A heart-wrenching yet humorous portrayal of grief, a delicious collection of recipes, an inspirational tale of changing careers, and a feel good love story--Vogue

An honest, brave and funny account of what it is to love, to lose love and how to make macarons--Red

I loved it so much. It's funny, sharp, sad and full of clear observations about food. I laughed so much (and I cried)--Ella Risbridger, author of Midnight Chicken

A brilliant, brave and beautiful book: funny and charming; utterly inspiring and life-affirming. I loved it--Olivia Sudjic

Tender . . . filled with the comfort we all seek when dealing with grief--Stylist

Potts writes powerfully about the nature of grief, yet she has the lightest of touches with her sensuous descriptions of food. A delightful read - and there are some terrific recipes in it, too--Daily Mail

A heart-warming book about death and new beginnings that will delight cake lovers; it manages to be moving, funny and mouth-watering in equal measure - a difficult literary confection to master--Guardian

Uplifting . . . tender--i

An utterly beautiful, moving, bittersweet book on love and loss. I loved it--Dolly Alderton

Heartbreaking and heartwarming in turns, it's a candid account of dealing with bereavement--Waitrose Weekend

An open-hearted, uproariously funny, moving love story. It will make you laugh and cry in equal measure, and fall in love with baking, with eating, and with love itself. A remarkable book by an enormously talented writer--Kate Young, author of The Little Library Cookbook

Honest, humorous and peppered with great recipes--Delicious

Her writing inspires resilience--Woman & Home

She writes with the precision required of a pastry chef. . . finely observed descriptions of texture, taste and smell. A love story, with sadness, humour and tension. Uplifting--Prue Leith, Spectator

There are plenty of laughs, and her unfolding relationship with Sam is a joy--Country Life