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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – Celebrity Chef, Television Presenter and Food Writer

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a renowned British chef and food journalist known for his bold ‘real food’ approach towards the culinary art. Hugh was born in 1965 to privileged parents- Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall and Robert Fearnley-Whittingstall based in London city. He grew up in Devon and attended the prestigious Eton College and St. Peter’s College in Oxford. He graduated in Philosophy and Psychology.


Hugh’s first job was that of a conservation worker in Africa where he briefly shifted right after his graduation from university. His first job as a chef was at the ‘River Café’ in London where he worked as a sous-chef. While at River Café, Hugh began a freelance career in food journalism by writing articles for Punch, The Evening Standard and The Sunday Times. His writing grew popular and Hugh was appreciated for his practical approach towards analyzing food preparations. Following his success as a food-writer, Hugh grabbed his first television show in the early 90’s in the cookery show – ‘Cook on the Wild Side’. The show was unique and one of its kind that depicted the chef himself ‘picking up roadkill and eating the hegerows’ which popularly earned him the name ‘Hugh Fearlessly-Eatsitall’.  

His first television breakthrough came in 1997 with the Channel 4 produced cookery series- ‘River Cottage’. The set of this cookery show was Whittingstall’s own holiday home known by the same name and was based on the grounds of Slape Manor in Netherbury, Dorset, UK. A total of three cookery episodes were shot at this very place by director Garry John Hughes. The episodes were named: Escape to River Cottage, Return to River Cottage and River Cottage Forever. The show was inspired from the 1970’s cookery show – ‘The Good Life’ which was based on purely organic food preparation. Whittinstall’s another famed show is The Edwardian Country House (2002).  

Television Guest Appearances

- Whittingstall appeared on the first series of Channel 4's The F Word in 2005 with Gordon Ramsay on the rearing of turkeys at Ramsay's London home; the turkeys are eaten in the last episode of the series.
- In 2008, Whittingstall also appeared along with fellow celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Ramsay and was featured in Channel 4's Big Food Fight season; his contribution to the season was Hugh's Chicken Run, which was shown over three consecutive nights. Whittingstall also created three chicken farms in Axminster (one intensive, one commercial free-range and the third, a community farm project staffed by volunteers), culminating in a "Chicken Out!" campaign to encourage the eating of free-range chicken.
- In 2010, Whittingstall made an appearance on the BBC One comedy panel show, Would I Lie to You? with host Rob Brydon, who awarded him the "Liar of the Week" prize.
- In September 2012, Fearnley-Whittingstall made an appearance on The One Show.
- Whittingstall also appeared on BBC Two's satirical music panel show, Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Philanthropic Projects

- Whittingstall helped develop Stinger, a nettle-flavored ale, with the Hall & Woodhouse brewery.
- In 2009, Hugh became a patron of ChildHope UK, an international child protection charity working in Africa, Asia and South America.

Popular Publications

- The River Cottage Family Cookbook, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Fizz Carr (2005).
- The Taste of Britain, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Laura Mason, and Catherine Brown (2006).
- The River Cottage Diary 2008, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (2007).
- Three Good Things on a Plate, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (2012).

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