Antony Worrall Thompson was born in Stratford-upon-Avon. Public-school educated at Kings School, Canterbury. Antony then studied Hotel and Catering Management at Westminster College.
He worked for various establishments in Essex, before moving to London in September 1978 to become sous chef at Brinkley’s Restaurant in the Fulham Road. He became head chef after only one month.
In 1979 he took six months ‘educational sabbatical’ in France, eating and working in 3-star establishments.
Returning to Brinkley’s as head chef, Antony Worrall Thompson changed the menus according to his experience gained in France. Next was Dan’s Restaurant in Chelsea, where, as head chef in 1980 he changed its character from café to haute cuisine, propelling its image into the pages of glossy magazines and Sunday supplements.
It was in 1981 that Antony opened Ménage a Trois in Knightsbridge (widely known to be the Princess of Wales’ favourite restaurant) to abundant publicity and reviews: it was the only restaurant in London to serve just starters and puddings.
He was also the first chef/patron to be chosen to open and operate the restaurant at One Ninety Queen’s Gate, a unique club with an abundance of style, designed exclusively for the restaurant industry.
In 1990, Antony opened Bistro 190 adjoining One Ninety Queen’s Gate, with a Mediterranean-biased menu and affordable prices. He became Managing Director of the Simpsons of Cornhill Group for which he launched dell’Ugo in Frith Street, which achieved extensive press coverage and where the accent was on robust and hearty Mediterranean and British food. Following this enormously successful formula he opened Zoe in St. Christopher’s Place to rave reviews, Café dell’Ugo in the City of London, Atrium in Westminster, Palio in Notting Hill Gate, Drones in Belgravia and De Cecco in Parsons Green.
Antony left the Simpsons of Cornhill group at the beginning of 1997 and now runs his own very popular neighbourhood restaurant Notting Grill in Holland Park, which specialises in organic meat, fish and vegetables. Antony is also a partner in the delightfully picturesque Angel Coaching Inn and Grill, at Heytesbury nr Warminster and in 2005 he opened Kew Grill, in Kew, Richmond, which is in the same vein as Notting Grill, with delicious well-hung meat and the best possible produce available.
In 1998 Antony Worrall Thompson became resident studio chef and main presenter for BBC2’s Food & Drink programme. He is a Ready Steady Cook regular and also appears on the amazingly popular Celebrity Ready Steady Cook. He also took part in the incredibly successful 1999 Ready Steady Cook Roadshow playing to packed theatres across the UK. He filmed several of his own series for Carlton Food Network: a 78 part series called Worrall Thompson Cooks, followed by Simply Antony, Antony’s Scotland, So You Think You Can’t Cook, Retrospectives, Antony’s Morocco, More Simply Antony, and Master and Servant with James Martin.
Antony regularly guests-presents and cooks on Good Food Live (UK Food Channel), and since mid 2003 was the presenter of BBC1’s hugely popular, Saturday Kitchen. In June 2004 the UK Food Channel broadcast a series of 10 half-hour programmes called simply Worrall Thompson, an entertaining mix of food programme and fly on the wall documentary.
In May 2006 he left the BBC, after 14 years, to host the live cookery programme Saturday Cooks! on ITV1 until the end of 2007. He has appeared on many other programmes: GMTV, Hot Chefs, MasterChef, Junior MasterChef, Home Front, Light Lunch and Quisine as well as Have I Got News For You, Question Time, Richard and Judy, to name but a few. Antony was twice the winner of The Weakest Link Chef Special and emerged from the jungle in 2003 as one of the nation’s favourite celebrities in the ITV series I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.