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AWT – A Day in the Life

Here’s what Antony gets up to on a typical busy day…

I start the day with 30 minutes on the treadmill, some band work and stretching. I want to build myself up to be supremely fit – eventually! Next on the agenda is feeding my animals (fish, cat and chickens) and I collect the eggs from outside.

Breakfast time is really important in our house – Jay and I eat together. A cup of tea is a must, with some boiled eggs (boiled for 4½ minutes) on a slice of rye toast with butter. Then I make a juice with one of my favourite gadgets, the AWT Centrifugal juicer. This morning it was pear and broccoli, yesterday I threw together kiwi, cucumber and watercress and the day before I juiced a yellow pepper with chilli, tomato and rocket.

7.45 am
I check out any work that my PA, Nicola, has left me and go through it with her when she arrives at 8am (if she’s on time!). I then speak to David, operations director of my restaurants.

En route to Capital Studios to film Daily Cooks Challenge I check through emails and messages and make calls. This morning I had a conference call about my new restaurant project in Koh Samui, Thailand – due to open in 2010. I also had a chat with Nigel, who runs the Windsor Larder, my newest venture and I had a chat with Tony, my development chef about the new menu for the restaurants. I send texts to my two younger children, too – they’re both at boarding school.

I phone five minutes before arriving at the studios so there is a cup of tea ready for me! Then it’s straight into a script meeting before going into the studio to run through my dish with the home economist. We rehearse it all out of sequence; the first and last parts of the show are shot first, then the celebrity is brought in and I cook their dish for the AWT masterclass. We don’t cook the other dishes as it would take too long. Then we squeeze in a 30 minute break and I write up notes and chat with the celebrity.

12 noon
We start recording with a few breaks when the chefs get their ingredients together for the beat the budget challenge. As they don’t know what they’re cooking, no cans are opened and nothing is peeled so they have a few minutes to get themselves organised. When we cook the final dish the plates are moved around and the celebrity comes back in and judges which is best. If it is a draw I cast the final vote.

Filming finishes and it’s time for a snack. I try to have protein as much as possible so it’ll be something like a chicken or seafood salad. I avoid carbs as they make me feel too heavy. Sometimes I’ll do some more work or try and have a (well-earned) snooze…

Recording starts again with a new celebrity. It’s the same routine as earlier but recording runs from 6pm.

Once filming is over, I might go for a quick drink with the other chefs or production team to discuss the next day’s recording. My driver picks me up and I try to catch up on more work if it’s not too dark in the car, and give my children Toby and Billie a call at school for a quick chat. Tonight my wife Jay picked me up and we had dinner in one of our restaurants. We try to do this a few times a week.

When we get home we’ll watch the news and sometimes I do a spot on the late programme on Radio 5 just after 11pm. Then it’s bed. Finally!

Written By Antony Worrall Thompson
First Published in At Home with Antony Worrall Thompson, December 2008

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