Penny is well known as a gifted amateur cook amongst family, friends and colleagues. Whilst completing a PhD in plant molecular biology (studying the chloroplast DNA of capsicum) in the UK in Bath she met Paul, who was a post-doctoral fellow. They lived next door on Belgrave Crescent but never met due to different work patterns. During the harsh winter of 1981/82 their enterprising landladies introduced them so that Penny could get a lift to university through the snow bound city in Paul’s car; they married in Oxford later that year. When Penny finished her PhD , they moved briefly to Melbourne and then onto the Adelaide Hills in 1987. Penny brought up their family while running an idyllic 10 acre property in Summertown with apples, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, nuts and chooks and renovating an old Bonython home. She picked fruit and sold it to local restaurants including the iconic Aristologist in Uraidla. She was the inaugural president for the Uraidla Market, one of the first only selling local produce, and ran a food stall there for a number of years. She returned to scientific research working on the genetics of wheat at the University of Adelaide and now is back cooking in the Adelaide Hills.
Her passion for food is very heavily influenced by the long summer holidays spent in the lakes region of Northern Italy when she was a child. She frequently makes her own pasta, she was originally taught to roll it out by hand so thinly that you could read a newspaper through it, but now relies on her favourite ‘macchina’ for the same effect. Her legendry cook book collection and frequent travel throughout Europe has further stimulated her creativity.