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Amber Guiness

I am a cook, food writer and journalist who grew up in a remote house called Arniano in Tuscany to English parents. I went to the village school until I was 13 before relocating to London where I got three top A-levels in History, Italian Literature and Language and Art. I went to the University of Edinburgh where I graduated with a double first class Masters degree in History and Italian. Afterwards I lived in London where I studied painting and drawing at the Royal Drawing School and at the City and Guilds art school where I specialised in print making and etching and won the 2015 etching and printing prize for my works made from memory of the landscape surrounding Arniano. My mother has always been strict with me about learning to cook properly as a way to earn extra money (I am a home cook, not a trained chef), which led me to cook for private dinners and supper clubs throughout university. After graduating I worked in Bryan Ferry’s music studio where I was the ‘in-house editor’ and archivist for 18 months. My role was to write, edit and subedit copy appertaining to interviews, album sleeves, book projects and catalogues. I also organised the photography archive containing some 30,000 images. While studying art I waitressed at the Michelin-starred River Café in London, which had a huge influence on my cooking style and desire to become a cook. This side hussle culminated in the idea for The Arniano Painting School, which I founded in 2014 with my friend William Roper-Curzon, a painter. I would cook and host, while William would teach oil painting. These courses are week long luxury retreats hosted at my family home in Tuscany, which are designed to emulate the glamorous house parties that my parents hosted throughout the 1980s and ‘90s. Over the past seven years we have had hundreds of people come from all over the world, many of whom are returning clients. For the last five years I have divided my time between Florence and Wiltshire, with my husband, a British journalist. I continue to run and cook at The Arniano Painting School, and now also write about Italy and its food and culture for British publications including The Times, Telegraph and Tatler. I also consult for luxury Italian brands such as Ortigia Sicilia, and Bellini Travel.