The daughter of a former Malawian diplomat is using her talent as a chef to create tasty dishes at a village restaurant.
Ulanda Nyondo and husband Donald – known as Don – began leasing The Barn Hulcott in Bierton from the golf club in May, and have built up quite a loyal following according to review website TripAdvisor.
Ulanda, 36, grew up in Malawi, central Africa, and her interest in food was nurtured at an early age watching her mother prepare traditional dishes such as nsima (corn meal) and chambo (tilapia fish) in the family home.
The family moved to Paris in 2001, where Ulanda’s father Dr Nelson S Ngwira worked as deputy ambassador at the Malawi Embassy.
Dr Ngwira is modest about his former role, and specialises in plant pathology.
Don, who manages The Barn, said: “Ulanda’s father believes he was asked to do an important job by his country, but does not consider himself important.”
He is now retired and living on his farm on the outskirts of Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.
Don – who used to work for medical supply company Nutricia before moving into hospitality – also grew up in Malawi but never met Ulanda until they were both living in London in the early 2000s.
The 38-year-old said: “I saw a picture of Ulanda at my friend’s house and commented on how beautiful she looked.
“I insisted if he could take me to meet her, and when I saw her that afternoon for the first time, I fell in love with her and knew she was the one.”
The couple married in October 2004 in Enfield, London, and are now parents to Daniel, seven, and Joseph, two.
Don said the couple found it both exciting and scary when they took on The Barn, as it was the first time they had ever done anything like it.
The father-of-two said: “On the one hand we found this great opportunity and on the other a challenge we had not encountered before – the fear of getting it wrong, messing up and losing everything.
“But good things do not come easy, so we accepted the challange and let God guide us.”
The pair on serving traditional English food, and and Ulanda says her favourite British dish is a roast, and Don is partial to seabass.
Visit thebarnhulcott.co.uk or call 01296 423350.