Interview with Chef Alan Coxon
Coxon is a food entertainer who combines a great sense
of fun when cooking with his vast knowledge of food
origins, ingredients and food history. Alan rose through
the ranks from the four-star Loews Hotel in Monte Carlo
to head chef at Europe's largest four star hotel, and
is a winner of five gold medals for food sculpting.
Alan has appeared in many TV programmes and is currently
a chef presenter on Good Food Live on UK Food. Alan's
latest book Ready in Minutes came out last year . .
Whom do you most admire for their achievements?
Having travelled through hell and back over the
years trying to achieve my goals, I have to respect
everyone that has made it to the top of their profession.
Who is your favourite chef?
Fernand Point, long dead but always an inspiration.
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
I would love to dine with the three Apicious
from the Roman Empires. The amazing gastrophiles from
44BC 117 AD. My passion lies with the history
of food and my new food range is to be launched this
year and includes flavours from the Roman Empire.
What is your favourite British food?
In winter, a good Steak and kidney pudding in a suet
crust. And Bread and Butter Pudding.
What is your favourite Italian food?
Cured Ham and Pizza
What is your favourite French food?
Foie Gras, and most regional dishes. As I worked for
four years in Monte Carlo, I thoroughly enjoyed the
Mediterranean style of food, fresh, simple and stunning
What is your favourite World food?
Thai, clean, fresh healthy and a stimulating chilli
kick to hit the spot!
What do you like most about your job?
The diversity, no day is the same. If variety is the
spice of life, I must live on the Malaba coast and love
every minute, well almost!
How would you describe eating in the UK to someone who's
never visited it?
Eating in the UK is like taking a roller coaster ride,
lots of ups and loads of downs!
Do you think food in the UK has changed for the better
since the days of Duck with Orange and huge helpings
of Black Forest Gateau?
The UK has improved tremendously since the late 70s
and 80s, not so long ago we could only buy Olive oil
from the chemist, mainly to stick in your ear, and we
made so much fuss about Beaujolais nouveau arriving
on our shores, (we even thought Beaujolais premeur was
drinkable!) when you look back, it seems like a lifetime
What's the best thing about eating in the UK?
You dont have to leave the country!
And the worst?
The travelling to find a decent place, the high prices
when you get there, and generally the service that is
hit and miss.
At what sort of place do you regularly go to eat?
Any that doesnt have the above.
Would you like to live and work somewhere other than
the UK and if so where and why?
Possibly Asia, using fresh clean flavoursome produce,
different techniques and principles, and hopefully warmer
What's your favourite food?
All depends the mood.
When did you first get involved in cooking?
At the age of 13, it is such a vital age to be influenced,
and thanks to a visit to France I realised there was
a whole new life and experience waiting to be enjoyed.
What sort of people have you cooked for during your
career? Most memorable and most forgettable?
I have cooked for most of Hollywood, including Franck
Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr, Eddie Murphy, Prince Charles,
the former Prime Minister John Major, most of the Saudi
Princes, most of the tribal Kings and Queens of Southern
Africa, Princess Grace, Caroline, Stephanie and Prince
Rainier, to name a few. Every one of them was memorable,
one day I must write a book with all the stories from
behind the scenes.
Do you ever have regrets that you chose to become a
Over the years, yes! I have thought about leaving the
industry three times over a twenty-four year period.
But then when I take a week off I miss it like hell.
What do you think you would have been if you had not
become a chef?
A sculptor, or a drummer. I have won many gold awards
at international salon culinary in the fat carving sections
and love creating in this medium. But I also love drumming,
as I used to play in a band many years ago, and once
supported Susie Quatro at the Isle of Man lido.
What would be your advice to someone who is thinking
of training to be a chef?
Dont do it for the money, dont do it for
the fame. Expect long hours, and hard graft. Do it if
you love food, people, and enjoy the buzz of stress
and pressure. Do it if you want to travel the world,
have ambition and enjoy mixing the scientific with the
The career of one famous chef only came about because
his professional football career came to an early close
through injury, and one chefs plans to open a
restaurant never happened when he became football manager
of Aberdeen and later Manchester United. Has fate ever
played a part in your career?
I believe that fate plays a part in all of our lives.
Over the years, things have not always gone to plan,
especially with my new historic food range, five years
in the making, and a launch date that is now a year
behind my schedule. A great deal of cost and effort
has gone into its development, but despite all of this,
fate dictates when, how and if. All I can do is put
in a 110% and hope that fate is on my side, when it
find out more about Alan Coxon visit www.alancoxon.com
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