Judith A. Baigent-King, CCP
Teaching Chef, Food Writer, Author
Born and raised in the seaside city of Nelson, New Zealand, Chef Judith developed her love of food from her grandmother, whose large kitchen with its domineering table became the center of family fun, jointly preparing and preserving food from their orchard and gardens.
In college, she studied home economics, giving her a thorough grounding in basic preparation, how to chop, beat and whip without the use of electrical equipment.
In 1963, she left New Zealand for Europe, where her real food education began. She acquired a certificate in basic French cuisine and studied in Crete and Florence. In Florence, Judith studied under the late Giuliano Bugialli, a Tuscan-born writer and culinary historian whose authoritative cookbooks, immersive classes and frequent television appearances helped generations of readers and eaters fall in love with Italian cuisine. She also studied with numerous noted chefs around the Mediterranean and Middle East, and assisted Jacques Pepin before he became a TV personality, and prepped food for the grand dame of Mexican cuisine, Diana Kennedy.
After many years of teaching culinary arts internationally and in Tucson, Chef Judith opened a catering company, The Affair Catering, which she sold five years later.
In 1994, she opened Culinary Concepts: An Extraordinary Cooking School in Tucson’s Plaza Palomino, 1,500 square feet of kitchen and retail space plus the same square footage dedicated to the hands-on cooking school, which saw over 600 students a month have fun learning to cook. She retired Culinary Concepts in 2010.
Chef Judith is a Certified Culinary Professional, an internationally recognized standard from the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Association. She is also a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, the only organization of its kind: A world society of professional women of high achievement in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality. She’ll serve as president of the Arizona chapter in 2021.
Her cookbook, “Culinary Concepts Cookbook,” was published in 2007. Since 2011, she writes a monthly food article, Season to Taste, for The Desert Leaf magazine, and teaches summer cooking classes in Pinetop, AZ.