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CHEF ANDY GRATTON ASK THE CHEF

There 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 info

Andy GrattonQ: Whom do you most admire for their achievements?

A: Mahatma Gandhi - for showing that you can change the world peacefully.

Q: Who is your favourite chef?

A: Gordon Ramsay, when he's being encouraging.

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

A: My girlfriend, Buddha Shakyamuni, Jesus, the prophet Muhammad, Eva Peron and Aphrodite.

Q: What would be your desert island disk?

A: Buddhist chants of love and compassion

Q: What is your favourite British food?

A: Chicken Karahi, Asian-style from Bradford and a good English breakfast.

Q: What is your favourite Italian food?

A: Pizza with Parma ham and rocket served at the last minute.

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Q: What is your favourite French food?

A: Ceviche- marinated raw fish - and Entrecote Bordelaise with poached marrow and potatoes cooked in goose fat.

Q: What is your favourite World food?

A: Southern African Biltong (air dried meat)

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: Making others happy

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

A: In general, too many chains serving mediocre food, a few restaurants that are superb and unfortunately, not many individual family restaurants.

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: 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.

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

A: The wide variety

Q: And the worst?

A: Poor quality and poor service

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

A: Organic vegetarian, authentic curry houses and Thai for my girlfriend.

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

A: Spain, Africa, Australia . . . anywhere would be interesting

Q: What's your favourite food?

A: I have a weakness for home-made roasted cashew nut butter on fresh Bagels with M & S Fair-trade coffee.

Q: When did you first get involved in cooking?

A: When I went on a work experience project cooking food for a charity in my last year at school

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

A: 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.

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

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.

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

A: 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.

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

A: 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.

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: 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!

To find out more about Andy Gratton visit www.celebritychefsuk.com

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