is certain charisma about Andy Gratton that sends out
a feel good factor to anyone around him
- calm, happy and very upbeat. Watch him transform as
he walks onto a stage, all of a sudden the atmosphere
fires up as he punches out his cookery demonstrations
to eager audiences. Andy is a professional chef but
also a great entertainer . . . more
Whom do you most admire for their achievements?
Mahatma Gandhi - for showing that you can change
the world peacefully.
Who is your favourite chef?
Gordon Ramsay, when he's being encouraging.
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
My girlfriend, Buddha Shakyamuni, Jesus, the prophet
Muhammad, Eva Peron and Aphrodite.
What would be your desert island disk?
Buddhist chants of love and compassion
What is your favourite British food?
Chicken Karahi, Asian-style from Bradford and a
good English breakfast.
What is your favourite Italian food?
Pizza with Parma ham and rocket served at the last
What is your favourite French food?
Ceviche- marinated raw fish - and Entrecote Bordelaise
with poached marrow and potatoes cooked in goose fat.
What is your favourite World food?
Southern African Biltong (air dried meat)
What do you like most about your job?
Making others happy
How would you describe eating in the UK to someone who's
never visited it?
In general, too many chains serving mediocre food,
a few restaurants that are superb and unfortunately,
not many individual family restaurants.
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?
I think, unfortunately it was the last century when
British food was great, and fresh seasonal food was
always served when entertaining. Food is definitely
getting better in the UK but it could still be much
better outside of the big cities.
What's the best thing about eating in the UK?
The wide variety
And the worst?
Poor quality and poor service
At what sort of place do you regularly go to eat?
Organic vegetarian, authentic curry houses and Thai
for my girlfriend.
Would you like to live and work somewhere other than
the UK and if so where and why?
Spain, Africa, Australia . . . anywhere would be
What's your favourite food?
I have a weakness for home-made roasted cashew nut
butter on fresh Bagels with M & S Fair-trade coffee.
When did you first get involved in cooking?
When I went on a work experience project cooking
food for a charity in my last year at school
What sort of people have you cooked for during your
career? Most memorable or most forgettable?
I have looked after many famous people but the most
memorable experience was cooking for a family in Essex.
They had won a completion to have me cook for the night,
so it was the best of everything all night. They had
great wines and fabulous food. But what made it special
was making them so happy.
Do you ever have regrets that you chose to become a
The grass always seems greener . . . and the long
hours and unsociable hours sometimes make you question
why you're doing it but in general, no.
What do you think you would have been if you had not
become a chef?
I really wanted to become an actor; it was the one
thing I excelled at school, perhaps the only thing as
well. Failing that, my Dad wanted me to be an electrician.
Sometimes I wish I had listened to him.
What would be your advice to someone who is thinking
of training to be a chef?
It is long hours and hard work and you have to give
up Friday and Saturday nights. However, you can travel
the world and earn some good money these days, but you
have to be the best you can.
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?
Until my late 20s I was driven by success and had
the dream of opening a restaurant that would be the
best. In the restaurant world there is constant high
pressure to be the best and as a result, like many chefs,
I found I was drinking a lot. The more I drank the more
disillusioned I became until eventually I hit rock bottom.
This pushed me to totally re-think my life and what
was important. From that point I've changed my motivation
from being obsessed with success to making people happy.
Ironically, since then I have been very successful!
find out more about Andy
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