I have been incredibly lucky that my cookbook and cooking courses have allowed me a new career following my serious health changes. However, that has meant meeting new challenges, not least speaking in public, on TV and radio. My deep anxiety and panic attacks have meant that, at best, I hated every second of it, or it would stop me from doing these things altogether.

Ian Taverner

I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to cope but I also knew I was missing out on potentially new and exciting opportunities to spread my message and help people.

I called upon the services of an absolutely amazing man, Jonathan Goodwin, who I’d met through a friend of a friend. He was very badly injured and paralysed in an accident on America’s Got Talent and has now dedicated his life to hypnotherapy and helping others.  He had already helped one of my daughters with her fear of flying, so I knew what might be possible. However, trepidation and scepticism still ran riot.

Hypnotherapy with Jonathan is not as you might think. You are fully aware and awake while he uses techniques to talk to your unconscious mind, to retrain it, if you like. After just one session I felt empowered and positive. A few short weeks later I was cooking and talking live on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch! I was still nervous but was able to control it, manage it and use it as a positive. 

Of course, it isn’t for everyone, but I can say wholeheartedly it has helped me overcome a major obstacle in my life and allows me to really enjoy life. Getting help to help yourself is so important and something I am learning to accept and encourage myself to do more.

As we head into a new year, attention turns to goals. I’m not one for resolutions, but this year I aim to produce a new cookbook – fully published this time. It takes an awful lot of time and effort, especially with cookbooks, but I am determined to make this happen! Mainly though, I want to use the platforms I have worked so hard to create to continue to reach as far and wide as possible and to try to help as many people as possible find some joy, happiness and greater independence in the kitchen.

I wish you all the very best, safest and happiest New Year!

Follow Ian Taverner’s cookfulness journey on Instagram, YouTube and X @Cookfulness

‘Cookfulness – A Therapeutic Approach to Cooking’ by Ian Taverner, published by Clink Street, is available now via Amazon, Bookshop.org and Waterstones.