Chef Antony Worrall Thompson has claimed an addiction to risk drove him to steal groceries from his local Tesco last year.
“I’ve done all sorts of risky things in my life. I’ve run restaurants, jumped out of planes and bungee jumped and perhaps I’d run out of risky things to do,” he told an audience at the Hospitality Show.
He said that he still craved risk in his life and had been close to appearing in reality television programme Splash. “But unfortunately my hiatus hernia wouldn’t survive a belly flop,” he added.
In a wide ranging interview, Worrall Thompson explained how his career in restaurants began by taking more than a financial risk with his business partner.
“I was having a fling with the wife of a restaurateur who invested in my restaurant,” he said. “So I called it Ménage à Trois. He put the money in and I bonked his wife. But he got his own back one way or another.”
Having experienced the pain of administration, Worrall Thompson advised restaurateurs not to over extend themselves with the banks and to make sure they always get the best deal on produce.
“Get your figures right and remember it’s not just about food but the whole experience,” he added. “Make sure you speak to your suppliers to find the best deal. Never use the answer machine as they will know you’re desperate. If I’ve learnt anything from Tesco it’s that they drive the price down.”
The celebrity chef said that, after some difficult times he now woke up looking forward to the day.
“I’ve done things arse about face,” he said. “I started shoplifting when I was 61 and smoking when I was 41. I’ve stopped both now.”
Referring back to the shoplifting episode, Worrall Thompson added: “I’ve had great support from my family, friends and staff.
“But I’ve always been brave enough to face life. I didn’t employ an expensive barrister I just put my hands up.”