Antony Worrall Thompson

Antony Worrall Thompson bigraphy, stories - English television chef

Antony Worrall Thompson : biography

01 May 1951 –

Henry Antony Cardew Worrall Thompson (born 1 May 1951) is a British celebrity chef, television presenter and radio broadcaster.


Prior to opening his first restaurant, Worrall Thompson was Executive Chef at 190 Queens Gate in South Kensington, London. Worrall Thompson opened his first restaurant – Ménage à Trois – in Knightsbridge in 1981, notable for only serving starters and puddings. He then launched several successful restaurants, including Wiz and Woz in West London and Metro in Jersey — all of which reflect his somewhat individual approach to food. Until late 2006, he was Catering Director for Old Luxters Barn, in Buckinghamshire.

In February 2009, his restaurant holding company AWT Restaurants was placed into administration. Four restaurants closed – the Notting Grill in west London, the Barnes Grill in south-west London, together with two pubs in Henley-on-Thames, the Lamb Inn and the Greyhound with the loss of 60 jobs, Worrall Thompson personally bought back the remaining Windsor Grill in Berkshire, the Kew Grill in south-west London, and delicatessen the Windsor Larder.

It was revealed in April 2009 that Thompson’s restaurant chain trouble was the result of its being "overstretched" and that his restaurants "had debts of more than £800,000 and owed 214 creditors money. Later in 2009, Thompson re-opened The Greyhound.

Early career

After he left school he studied hotel management at Westminster Kingsway College. Taking his first catering job in Essex, it is rumoured that his grandmother refused to write to him because she couldn’t bring herself to write Essex on the envelope. In 1978, he moved to London and became sous-chef at Brinkley’s Restaurant in the Fulham Road, becoming head chef one year later. The following year he took a sabbatical in France, eating and working his way around the local cuisine. After this he returned to England and started producing pans with his business partner Hassan.

Personal life

Worrall Thompson married Jill when he was 22; the couple divorced five years later. He subsequently married an Australian, Militza. The couple had two children and divorced. He is married to his third wife Jacinta Shiel, the couple live in High Wycombe and have two children. He has a child from a brief liaison.

In January 2012, Worrall Thompson received a formal police caution for shoplifting low value items, including wine and cheese from the Henley-on-Thames branch of Tesco on a total of five occasions.

Worrall Thompson is a patron of FOREST,

a UK-based, tobacco industry financed, pro-smoking lobby. He claimed to have given up smoking in February, 2010, in a feature for Radio 4's Woman's Hour. 
He is also involved in fundraising for the Conservative Party and is an active supporter of National Family Week. In 2003, Worrall Thompson funded the Antony Worrall Thompson Trophy - a charity football cup played by 8 semi-professional teams in the summer, pre-season. However, due to Worrall Thompson's financial issues, the trophy lasted only one year and was never replayed after Altrincham F.C's 2003-2004 victory over Northwich Victoria F.C. Altrincham won the game 4-3. October 2010 saw Thompson join Uncovered as a regular columnist offering recipes and advice on eating for good health and seasons finest produce. 

Early life

Worrall Thompson was born in Stratford upon Avon. His parents were actor Michael Ingham and actress Joanna Duncan, who separated when he was three. He was educated at the King’s School, Canterbury, where he sustained facial injuries while playing rugby. He had to wait until he was twenty-one before he could have plastic surgery to correct the disfigurement.


Thompson made his first television appearance on BBC2’s Food and Drink, before appearing on Ready Steady Cook from 1994.

In 2003, he appeared in the second series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, which led to him replacing Gregg Wallace as the host of BBC2’s Saturday Kitchen. The show transferred to BBC1 to replace Saturday morning children’s television. However, after a large financial offer from ITV, Worrall Thompson and the production company responsible for the show, Prospect Pictures transferred the format – including Australian wine expert Matt Skinner – to ITV from June 2006. The new show Saturday Cooks fared poorly against the new BBC production of Saturday Kitchen fronted by the younger James Martin, and retreated as Daily Cooks Challenge to now only air during the week. Since the move to ITV, Thompson has ceased to appear as a guest chef on Ready, Steady, Cook.

Worrall Thompson represented the Midlands and East of England in series one of the BBC’s Great British Menu but was beaten by Galton Blackiston, after burning the meat course of his entry prior to the judging phase.

In June 2008 he made a guest appearance on ITV soap Emmerdale, where he was judging a Pub of the Year contest. On first episode season Five BBC’s Top Gear, he also made a guest appearance, where he make an omelet with Jeremy Clarkson’s hair.

Awards and honours

Worrall Thompson has won the Mouton Rothschild Menu Competition, and the Meilleur Ouvrier de Grande Bretagne (MOGB).

In February 2010, Worral Thompson was awarded only one star out of five after a food hygiene inspection at his gastro-pub, The Greyhound, near Henley-on-Thames. South Oxfordshire District Council said the score meant hygiene was "poor" with "standards generally low".


Thompson recommended the poisonous plant Henbane as a "tasty addition to salads" in the August 2008 issue of Healthy and Organic Living magazine. Apologising for the error Thompson said: "I was thinking of a wild plant with a similar name, Fat Hen, not this herb. It’s a bit embarrassing, but there have been no reports of any casualties. Please do pass on my apologies." The magazine sent subscribers an urgent message stating that Henbane "is a very toxic plant and should never be eaten."

Worrall Thompson’s recipe for Snickers Pie was nominated by independent food watchdog The Food Commission as one of the most unhealthy dessert recipes ever, in 2006. Consisting of five Snickers bars, puff pastry, mascarpone, soft cheese, sugar and eggs, a single slice has been estimated to contain more than 1,250 calories.