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Interview with Chef Alan Coxon

ASK THE CHEF

Alan 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 . . . more info

Q: Whom do you most admire for their achievements?

A: 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.

Q: Who is your favourite chef?

A: Fernand Point, long dead but always an inspiration.

Q: With whom would you most like to have dinner?

A: 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.

Q: What is your favourite British food?

A: In winter, a good Steak and kidney pudding in a suet crust. And Bread and Butter Pudding.

Q: What is your favourite Italian food?

A: Cured Ham and Pizza

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Q: What is your favourite French food?

A: 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 ingredients.

Q: What is your favourite World food?

A: Thai, clean, fresh healthy and a stimulating chilli kick to hit the spot!

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: 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!

Q: How would you describe eating in the UK to someone who's never visited it?

A: Eating in the UK is like taking a roller coaster ride, lots of ups and loads of downs!

Q: 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?

A: 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 away.

Q: What's the best thing about eating in the UK?

A: You don’t have to leave the country!

Q: And the worst?

A: The travelling to find a decent place, the high prices when you get there, and generally the service that is hit and miss.

Q: At what sort of place do you regularly go to eat?

A: Any that doesn’t have the above.

Q: Would you like to live and work somewhere other than the UK and if so where and why?

A: Possibly Asia, using fresh clean flavoursome produce, different techniques and principles, and hopefully warmer weather.

Q: What's your favourite food?

A: All depends the mood.

Q: When did you first get involved in cooking?

A: 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.

Q: What sort of people have you cooked for during your career? Most memorable and most forgettable?

A: 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.

Q: Do you ever have regrets that you chose to become a chef?

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.

Q: What do you think you would have been if you had not become a chef?

A: 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.

Q: What would be your advice to someone who is thinking of training to be a chef?

A: Don’t do it for the money, don’t 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 artistic.

Q: The career of one famous chef only came about because his professional football career came to an early close through injury, and one chef’s 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?

A: 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 is ready.

To find out more about Alan Coxon visit www.alancoxon.com

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com