A new pilot TV show created to ‘celebrate and showcase food businesses in south Warwickshire’ is being launched at a special event in Leamington next week.
Bia’s Kitchen Show promises to highlight some of the best of the area’s foodie scene when it is streamed to audiences twice monthly on YouTube, Spotify, Instagram and Facebook.
The passion project is the creation of self-taught chef and entrepreneur Bianca Perry, who wants to support the spa town which she now calls home – 15 years after emigrating from her native Brazil – in the best way she knows how.
The show is an extension to her successful Bia’s Kitchen brand, and will feature local independent chefs and restaurateurs cooking signature dishes as well as her own top tips and recipes.
It marks the latest chapter on a journey of reinvention for the now 43-year-old mum-of-three, who walked away from a high-flying career in marketing in Rio de Janeiro – after falling in love with a Leamington man who was holidaying with friends.
Growing up on a farm, Bianca’s love for cooking started in her childhood and continued to be a big feature in her life and work.
She said: “As a farm girl I learned to cook as well as look after the land. I loved going harvesting, picking up fresh vegetables and herbs and cooking with my grandma. I’ve never been scared of work. My first job was when I was 12, I picked up vegetables from the farm and set up a little store in front of my house. Growing up on the farm was amazing. . . but I always dreamed bigger!”
After a short spell at boarding school, her ambitions led her to Rio where she worked in a mobile phone shop while studying for a degree. She soon realised her ambitions by partnering in a successful marketing company, securing major clients including what was at the time South America’s biggest water park. Drawn back to her foodie roots, she also established and ran a restaurant on the site.
Seven years later Bianca moved on again to Miami where she took the opportunity to work on her English while helping her cousin run his restaurant.
But it was in 2009, after resettling in the UK as the new Mrs David Perry, that signalled the start of a difficult period for newly-expectant Bianca who spent much of her pregnancy in hospital with crippling sickness.
Her daughter Lauren later faced her own serious health issues which resulted in surgery to remove of one of her lungs at the age of just four. Since then Bianca and husband David have been keen to give back through fundraising and free professional support to Ronald McDonalds House which took the couple in through Lauren’s two-month treatment and recovery at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
And it wasn’t until their youngest child, William, was two that they learned he had been born deaf. Today he has managed to recover some of his hearing with the help of hearing aids.
Out of the blue, in 2020, the family were then hit with the tragic suicide of David’s older brother Oli Perry.
Throughout all of this, Bianca continues to fall back on her lifeline of cooking – and is again ready to step out of the shadows of her busy Cubbington kitchen into the limelight – this time to share her passion with the adopted community she has come to love.
She explained: “In Brazil I was someone. I came to England and suddenly all that was gone. I was now a pregnant wife, not used to the culture or the weather and with no support network because my family and friends are all in Brazil.
“Also, if you’re a businesswoman in Brazil, you don’t worry about cleaning the house and tidying up and you have people to help with the kids, you can continue your career, free to focus on work. It was all a big shock for me. I lost my identity. I didn’t know who I was let alone what I was going to do.”
So she started cooking for friends, hosted cooking classes in Warwick and even a pop-up restaurant in Kenilworth. Buoyed by the positive feedback – and a win on Channel Four’s Couples Come Dine With Me TV show (pictured right) – she launched herself as a private chef and reignited her entrepreneurial spirit with successful businesses – Fresh to Freeze, a pre-cooked food delivery business which thrived throughout the pandemic – and Bia’s Kitchen.
She recalls: “Throughout this period though I had to do homeschooling as well. It all eventually became too much and I went into a very dark place for a while. I just didn’t think I could do this any more. I was also going through post-natal depression and lost 30% of my hair due to stress-induced alopecia. My faith and prayer eventually helped pull me out of that place.”
Bia’s Kitchen Show show is being unveiled in front of specially invited guests at a launch event at 1 Mill Street on January 18th.
She said: “I am excited about combining my knowledge of food and international flavours, and marketing and production in a way that also involves my community. I have a passion for telling people’s stories. It’s about creating a buzz around the local foodie scene.
“I never studied to be a chef, apart from independent cooking technique courses, but I picked things up really quickly throughout my life working around food. I’m a very fast learner and everything comes back to food for me. I thrive off feeling other people’s energy and passion for food. After all, cooking is the universal language of love.”