She stepped in to make pizzas, starting a career that would span several decades. Gilchrist doesn’t see her lack of formal training as a deficit – as she told The Guardian, ‘Kids who've gone down that route don't seem to experiment the way I do.’
Experimentation has served her well. After working at Jeanie’s Restaurant in Oxford from 1972 until 1978, she took up chef duties at Three Conies - a gastropub in Thorpe Mandeville - as well as at a hotel in Newton Ferrers. She ultimately resettled in Llanwrtyd Wells amid the hills of Wales in 1991.
She remains there today as chef and proprietor of Carlton Riverside, a restaurant with seven rooms attached located along the River Irfon. The AA Guide praises Chef Gilchrist’s ‘great natural skills and obvious passion. There’s no flim-flammery of foams or gels on her a la carte menu, just perfectly cooked tip-top materials brought together in thoughtful combinations.’
While it’s never easy to be both chef and proprietor of one’s own business, Gilchrist takes her work seriously and her attention to detail has paid off – she’s held three AA rosettes for years, is one of Slow Food UK’s MasterChefs of Great Britain, and the Carlton was named Wales’s Restaurant of the Year 2007-8 by the Good Food Guide.