I started out as an enthusiastic cook and then trained and worked as a commis chef. My curiosity around food led me to study a BSc.in Food and Consumer Sciences: I gained a first class honours degree and went on to develop food products for Marks and Spencer. As a Food Selector, my role was to develop concepts from presenting the recipe ideas to styling the food for photography.
I was inspired to write and trained with the National Magazine Company to write features for popular magazines. At Good Housekeeping, I designed and ran commercial projects for the food and product test centre, GHI.
I moved on to gain experience in the food manufacturing industry, defining food for both the consumer and food service markets. As Home Economics Manager at Nestlé UK I guided the sensory taste panel work and ran the Culinary Development Kitchen. Our team supplied specialist, skilled support for product development and creative communications for food and beverage marketing.
Since 2009 I have established my own business… All about food at beaharling.com
and become a Director of Phil Vickery Seriously Good Gluten Free Food Ltd. with Business Partner chef, Phil Vickery. For many years now we have been interested in developing gluten free and wheat free recipes, primarily because it was a challenge to adapt delicious food that everyone can enjoy.
I find inspiration for food from travelling and learning along the way. Originally born in London, I now live and cook close to Lake Geneva in Switzerland as well as in the UK.
Food Creative Director ...... all about food at beaharling.com
June 2009 - Present
Bea is a respected food professional, with more than 20 years experience in the food industry; she has expertise to define food for both consumer and foodservice markets.
Recipe development, testing, editing
Food copy writing
Food design : Gluten Free; Free From; Health & Wellbeing
NPD; including Sensory Evaluation; informal taste panel work
Professional demonstration of products for promotion
Training demonstrations to home cooks, groups, schools
Special event coordination;team 'chef' events to celebrate success
Take our tutors home with you
If you’re coming on a course to discover new skills and techniques from our expert tutors, remember that you can carry on learning when you get home! The Art of Sugarcraft is a fully comprehensive guide from the SKIS tutors, offering something for creative cake makers of all abilities – from basic recipes to masterclasses in sugarcraft, and everything in between.
Gluten-free baking at SKIS
After the success of our first gluten-free baking course at SKIS, we caught up with the tutor, Bea Harling, to find out more about her interest in free-from baking.
What first got you interested in free-from baking?
A favourite part of my work is the time I spend experimenting in the kitchen. I was asked to create some recipes for a book on gluten-free baking and my first thought was to design something that everyone would want to eat, regardless of whether they were a coeliac or not.
What does your course at SKIS aim to teach its students?
The course is designed to inspire confidence in gluten-free baking and I want people to enjoy learning how to adapt to gluten- and dairy-free cooking. I look for great traditional recipes and aim to pass on a good set of reliable core recipes that can be tweaked to make them your own. It’s a pleasure when people with an allergy or intolerance find they can still enjoy their favourite treats.
What is your essential piece of equipment for gluten-free baking?
An accurate set of measuring spoons. I also always use an old-fashioned silver tablespoon from my mum’s kitchen, which is the complete opposite!
Do you have a top tip for budding gluten-free bakers?
There’s little room for poetic license with gluten-free baking. Get everything weighed and to room temperature first. Measure carefully, mix thoroughly but lightly and some batters thicken when left to stand, so bake straight away.