Antony Worrall Thompson
Born in 1951 in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Antony Worrall Thompson’s passage to culinary stardom has not exactly been smooth. Antony’s story very nearly came to an abrupt halt at the age of sixteen when his face was crushed in an horrific rugby accident, which left him badly disfigured. But pioneering surgery saved the day, enabling Antony to pursue what was to become the enduring love of his life – cooking.
Antony studied Hotel and Catering Management at Westminster College. He worked for various establishments in Essex, much to the horror of his grandmother who refused to write to him because she could not bring herself to write the word Essex on the envelope.
By 1979 he was to be found as head chef at Brinkley’s Restaurant in the Fulham Road, recreating the menus following the experience he gained after undertaking a six month `educational sabbatical' in France, eating and working in 3-star establishments.
Antony and his mum.
In 1981 Antony opened Ménage a Trois in Knightsbridge (widely known to be the Princess of Wales's favourite restaurant) to abundant publicity and reviews: it was the only restaurant in London to serve just starters and puddings.
In March 1988 he won the Mouton Rothschild Menu Competition, and shortly before in December 1987 the most prestigious accolade: the Meilleur Ouvrier de Grande Bretagne (MOGB) - the chef's Oscar - which is the Academy of Culinary Arts competition, held every four years, to find the most talented chefs in the country. He is one of only seven chefs in the UK to have merited the lifelong title so far.
During the 1990s Antony featured in Egon Ronay's Guide 1991 as a new entry with two stars. He opened numerous restaurants and became Managing Director of the Simpsons of Cornhill Group where the accent was on robust and hearty Mediterranean and British food. Following this enormously successful formula he opened Zoe in St. Christopher's Place to rave reviews, Café dell'Ugo in the City of London, Atrium in Westminster, Palio in Notting Hill Gate, Drones in Belgravia and De Cecco in Parsons Green.
Towards the end of the 1990s Antony left the Simpsons of Cornhill Group to open Woz to huge acclaim and became resident studio chef and main presenter for BBC2's Food & Drink programme. He was a Ready Steady Cook regular, filmed several of his own series for Carlton Food Network, including Worrall Thompson Cooks, Simply Antony and So You Think You Can’t Cook. In 2003 he was appointed presenter of BBC1's hugely popular, Saturday Kitchen until May 2006. In May 2006 he left the BBC, after 14 years, to host the live cookery programme Saturday Cooks! on ITV1 until the end of 2007. He has appeared on many other programmes: GMTV, Hot Chefs, MasterChef, Junior MasterChef, Home Front, Channel 4's Light Lunch and Quisine as well as Have I Got News For You, Question Time, Richard and Judy, to name but a few. Antony was twice the winner of The Weakest Link Chef Special and emerged from the jungle in 2003 as one of the nation's favourite celebrities in the ITV series I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
As someone diagnosed with Syndrome X, a condition which can lead to diabetes, Antony is increasingly in demand by broadcasters to comment on and discuss serious food issues such as diabetes, obesity, nutrition and the eating habits of children. He is also a prolific writer, having published many cookery books, written a weekly column for Saturday Express for more than 10 years and currently writes a cookery column for The Express on Sunday Magazine where he has the longest serving recipe column on a national newspaper. Antony is currently to be found hosting Daily Cooks Challenge every week day afternoon on ITV1. Tune in at 3 pm to find out what culinary delights the chefs are cooking up for their celebrity guest each day.
One of Antony’s many other interests is his passion for organic farming, growing many herbs and vegetables for his restaurants and he has created his own range of food and non-food products. Despite such an energetic professional lifestyle, he still manages to find time for art, antiques, tennis, swimming and gardening - and of course his wife Jay, their two young children and Roney an exuberant golden retriever who all live at his arts and crafts-style house near the River Thames.
Should you wish to sample some of Antony’s delicious dishes, he currently has three restaurants; Kew Grill and Windsor Grill, serving his unique retro grill style cuisine using only the best, locally sourced ingredients and The Greyhound where he can normally be found. His latest venture is Windsor Larder, a Food And Wine To Go shop - a small friendly shop where you can buy a variety of foods and other items from a snack to lunch for the office or a complete meal at home.
Patron of following: North Yorkshire Smallholder Society NAPAC (The National Association for People Abused in Childhood) Child Bereavement Trust Battery Hen Welfare Trust Stokenchurch Dog Rescue (Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire) Breeders' Society for Middle White Pig
Antony will be appearing in the AEG Taste Theatre at 11.45am on Sunday 4th December, and will be hosting a book signing following his demonstration. He will also be taking to the stage in La Patisserie Peugeot at 4pm on the Sunday.