Allegra McEvedy MBE
Described by The Independent as a caterer with a conscience, Allegra McEvedy has been cooking professionally for 20 years, working her way through a clutch of Londons best restaurants as well as an eighteen month spell in the States. Over that time she developed the philosophy that she continues to live and work by: that there are more ways for a chef to make a difference than by winning Michelin stars, and good food should be available to everybody. In 1991, Allegra completed her classical French training at the Cordon Bleu in London. She also obtained a Higher Certificate from The Wine and Spirit Education Trust. She then went on to work at Greens Restaurant and Oyster Bar, The Belvedere in Holland Park, The Groucho Club and The River Cafe . She got her first Head Chef position at Tom Conrans The Cow in Notting Hill, at the age of 24. During a spell in the USA, facilitated by being awarded a special visa as an alien with extraordinary ability in the culinary arts , Allegra worked at Rubicon and JardiniA Øre in San Francisco, and ran the kitchen at Robert De Niros New York restaurant Tribeca Grill, regularly doing 500 covers a night. Whilst in New York, she catered for an exclusive Democratic Party fundraiser, which involved personally cooking for President Clinton. In 2004, Allegra co-founded LEON, the award-winning, healthy, fast food restaurant group, which opened its first outlet in Carnaby Street, Soho. Six months after opening, LEON was named the A¢ ¬ABest New Restaurant in Great BritainA¢ ¬ at the Observer Food Monthly Awards, and in 2008 it won the Palme d Or for the Best Restaurant Concept in Europe. LEON currently has 13 restaurants in and around London, serving around 100, 000 people a week. Allegra gave up her role at LEON in early 2009 to focus on writing and broadcasting; she remains a shareholder in the business. Allegra was Chef in Residence at The Guardian for 3 years until 2009 and is still a regular contributor, as well as hosting a quarterly A¢ ¬AcookalongA¢ ¬ , the Internets first live, interactive and illustrated cooking class. Previously she has had columns in ES (Evening Standard magazine) and Elle, and often writes for other food and travel magazines. Over the summer of 2009, Allegra co-presented Economy Gastronomy, a six-part BBC prime-time series about planning ahead, shopping well, spending less and using ingredients wisely. She has worked extensively with Good Food Channel first as a regular guest chef, then in 2011 co-presenting Matt and Allegras Big Farm . Recently she has been working with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for Channel 4 and on Great British Food Revival for BBC2. Allegras Turkish Delights , her first solo presenting job, is previewing on Good Food Channel in Autumn 2012. She enjoys radio, guest presenting for BBC R4s Loose Ends, as well as appearing regularly on the Today programme, and has a seasonal food slot on Robert Elms show for BBC London. Over the years she has worked as a chef consultant to many businesses, mostly within the area of public space eating, such as The Royal Parks, The Tabernacle (a community centre in Notting Hill) and the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Since 2010 she has been a consultant to Pret a Manger. She has written five books, which have sold internationally both to the English-speaking market and in translation, and is currently working on her sixth, which will be published in October 2013.
My connection with seafood
I absolutely believe it is the yummiest, healthiest, most generous present Neptune could ever have bestowed upon us!! Allegra also sits on the Advisory Board for Good Catch Sustainable Fish Forum.
Why sustainability is important to me