Olivia is a barrister turned writer and cook. She grew up in Newcastle before reading English at Cambridge. She was elected the twenty-second female president of the Cambridge Union in 2008, and was called to the bar in 2011. She won the Arden Scholarship, and practised as a criminal barrister for five years.
Now, Olivia spends her time writing and cooking. She is The Spectator’s Vintage Chef, and writes about law and popular culture in the New Statesman.
In September 2017 she won the Young British Foodies Fresh Voices In Food Writing Award, and in April 2019 she was shortlisted for the Fortnum & Mason Cookery Writer of the Year Award. She is the winner of the 2020 Fortnum & Mason Debut of the Year Award and the 2020 Guild of Food Writers Food Writer of the Year Award.
Her memoir is currently in development for TV drama.
A HALF-BAKED IDEA - Fig Tree - 2019
At the moment her mother died, Olivia Potts was baking a cake, badly. She was trying to impress the man who would later become her husband. So she ate the cake, completely unaware that, 275 miles away, her mother was dying.
Afterwards, grief pushed Olivia into the kitchen. She came home from her job as a criminal barrister miserable and tired, and baked soda bread, pizza, and chocolate banana cake. Her cakes sank and her custard curdled. But she found comfort in jams and solace in pies, and what began as a distraction from grief became a way of building a life outside grief, a way of surviving, and making sense of her life without her mum.
And so she concocted a plan: she would begin a newer, happier life, filled with fewer magistrates and more macaroons. She left the bar and enrolled on the Diplôme de Pâtisserie at Le Cordon Bleu, plunging headfirst into the eccentric world of patisserie, with all its challenges, frustrations and culinary rewards - and a mind-boggling array of knives to boot.
Interspersed with recipes ranging from passionfruit pavlova to her mother's shepherd's pie, this is a heart-breaking, hilarious, life-affirming memoir about dealing with grief, falling in love and learning how to bake a really, really good cake.
Praise for A HALF BAKED IDEA:
'Potts's memoir is many things at once: 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
'This is 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.' - The Guardian
'Wit and warmth on every page... a book of courage and consolation.' - Laura Freeman, The Times
‘An utterly beautiful, moving, bitter-sweet book on love and loss. I loved it.’ - Dolly Alderton
‘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' - Olivia Sudjic
'An honest, brave and funny account of what it is to love, to lose love and how to make macarons' - Red Magazine