Alan Coxon, UK's leading food archaeologist and celebrity chef was born in Derbyshire before moving to France at the aged twelve.
It was this exposure to the French culinary influences that inspired Alan to become a chef.
At the age of fifteen, Alan returned to the UK to complete his schooling and found work in several hotels and restaurants during holidays and weekends. He then went on to catering college to complete a formal two-year course.
On completion, France and the Mediterranean foods pulled Alan back to work as a commis and demi chef de partie at the famous Loews Hotel, Monte Carlo.
As the only British chef in an international brigade, Alan progressed readily through the culinary ranks, obtaining extensive experience in the multitude of outlets including the Michelin starred "Foie Gras" restaurant, the Provincial Restaurant "Le Pistou" and the function suites at "Le Follie Rousse"
On returning to the UK, Alan worked in several operations obtaining maximum experience. Eventually, opening up his own restaurant "A Taste of Magic" in the Isle of Man
As Chef proprietor, he specialised in local seasonal produce and menus with fresh, quality ingredients being the focus. Alan provided after dinner magical entertainment to create one of the first and only themed restaurants in the UK
After several years of successful trading, Alan decided it was time to expand and became Head Chef of the Top Table restaurant owned by Robert and Susan Sangster. The restaurant received confirmation of a Michelin star, but was sold by the Sangsters prior to the printing of the new guidebook.
Alan was once again lured back to France, this time in the leading position of Head Chef of the Newport Bay hotel in Paris, the largest 4 star hotel in Europe with 1098 rooms.
Alan lead an international brigade of over fifty chefs, and responsible for overseeing two a la carte restaurants, one fine dining, all room service, three large function suites, outdoor dining terrace and all food purchasing and stores.
With over 3000 residents, as well as non-residents to cater for, Alan was also instrumental in the organisation and implementation of the 10,000 celebrity-opening extravaganza. Looking after the likes of Michael Jackson, Cher, Sir Bob Geldof, Eddie Murphy, to name just a few.
Alan eventually returned back to the UK this time in the role of Catering Lecturer, spending three years writing and developing City and Guilds NVQ packages, and training young people entering the catering industry.
After three years, Alan returned to the industry as Executive Chef for a leading Scottish food manufacturer and it was here where he was instrumental in the development and creation of a culinary food theatre, culinary demonstrations, and the overseeing of the catering operations, gastronomic restaurant and visiting dignitaries such as, HRH Prince of Wales and former prime minister, John Major.
Whilst delivering shows, Alan was spotted by producer/director, Kirsty Walk, who invited Alan to co present a cookery show pilot. The pilot tape, together with other material was sent on to Action Time, a production company, who were actively involved with TV cookery shows.
Within the month, Alan was offered a TV series, Surprise Chefs, co presenting with Lesley Waters, he then went on to obtain over 250 of his own shows entitled, Coxon's Kitchen College, filmed to time, and in front of a live audience.
Alan was invited to guest present a cookery section on the first ever Gloria Hunniford's Open House programme live for Channel 5, he remained a regular contributor to the show for over four years.
Alan is presently a guest co presenter with Jeni Barnett, on BBC UK Good Food Live and now approaching his second year with the team.
His other TV work includes the successful series "Ever Wondered About Food" on BBC2, which attracted over 1.3 million viewers per programme and indulged Alan's passion of history and social science of food.
The programmes success gave rise to a second series, aired in 2003.
In addition to Alan's UK filming, he has also proved hugely successful in South Africa, where several series have been shot, including the unique series of "Coxon's Royal Feast" a creation that led Alan into the homes and private lives of Southern African Royalty. Alan's other work, have included several food and travel series including, Tasting South Africa, A Land of Plenty from the USA, and From Portugal with Love.
Alan has also featured on many other shows, making guest appearances including,
ITV's Naughtiest Blunders, Flash in the Pan, Picture This, Dennis Nordens Laughter Files, Lifestyle Matters, Food Network Daily, Games Room and Super Chefs, to name but a few.
Alan has been interviewed and written about in such publications as BBC Good Food Magazine, the Daily Mirror, Conde Nast Traveller, Daily Telegraph, the Times, Family Circle, House and Home, House Beautiful, Restaurant and Hotelkeeper and various magazine and newspapers around the world, where many of his shows have been screened.
Alan is an author of 3 books, the latest is Ready in Minutes published by Struik, the Singles Cookbook and Three Chefs in the Cape.
Alan is launching his own food ranges in 2005 in both the UK and South Africa. Very exciting and unseen on the world market, watch out for more details coming soon.
A new TV series based in South Africa, filming with sports personalities such as Gary Player, Zola Budd, Francois Pienaar, Alan Donald and Baby Jake, will also be screened in 2005.
Alan is very much committed to the furthering of food understanding through it's origins, including the influences of Roman, Egyptian and Ancient Greek cuisines, and also to the encouragement of young people towards the profession, as well as home cooks.
This includes a variety of initiatives such as visiting schools in association with his membership of the Academy of Culinary Arts, to shows and demonstrations across the country.
Alan is also pro active in promoting regional seasonal foods, healthy and achievable dishes for all to understand and embrace. He is passionate about the hospitality industry to which he has committed his working life, and enjoys sharing his love of food and his knowledge for all to enjoy.
For more information about Alan Coxon click here: http://www.alancoxon.com/
Read Alan Coxon's Bio
Paul Merrett is the presenter of ‘Ever Wondered About Food’. Paul also co-presented a ten-part series called ‘The Best’ which aired in 2002 accompanied by a book of the same name.
Paul trained under Gary Rhodes at The Greenhouse in Mayfair, London, following his apprenticeship at The Ritz and three years working with chef Peter Kromberg at Le Soufflé. He then moved to The Terrace Restaurant at the Meridien Hotel, in Piccadilly Circus, where he established a reputation for British cuisine with an Asian twist.
In October 1997, Paul took over the kitchens at Interlude in Charlotte Street, London W1, where his food continued to earn rave reviews. Ironically, after the restaurant was bought by investors and then shut, Paul was awarded his first Michelin star for the restaurant that was no longer there! Paul then returned to The Greenhouse where he was head chef and had been awarded a Michelin star but he left to open a less formal restaurant, The Farm in Fulham, London. Paul left The Farm in 2005 and is currently working on his second book.
Paul appeared on ‘Light Lunch’ (UK Channel 4) several times as well as Superchefs on the Carlton Food Network. He has also appeared as a regular presenter doing features for ‘Fresh Food’, and has appeared as Guest Chef of the Week for Food Network Daily on the Carlton Food Network and co-presenter on ‘Good Food Live’. Paul contributes regularly to Olive magazine.
Married, with two children, Paul lives in London.
Read Paul Merrett's Bio