Theo Randall

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I first learned about the effort required and the rewards enjoyed by a true food lover as a child. Unlike my peers, who happily spent their holidays buried in sand on the beach or leaping in and out of rock pools, my parents’ idea of a good family holiday was quite different. Instead they chose to drive through rural Italy in their Citro and see how much food and wine they could squeeze into the boot before finally driving home.

Looking back, I can see that this was in itself a privilege - how many other people can claim to have experienced freshly pressed olive oil? Or to have seen what places like Venice and Florence were like in the 70’s But at the time the only thing that made these trips bearable were the frequent stops at trattorie and panetterie...

I guess it would be fair to say that my parents’ enthusiasm for good food and wine didn’t so much ‘rub off’ but rather ‘stuck’ with me. In my early twenties, after a four year apprenticeship with Max Magarian of Chez Max, I was lucky enough to find myself in the kitchen of a little restaurant which had just opened on a stretch of the river Thames approaching Hammersmith Bridge - The River Café.

Here I was able to put my relationships with small artisan producers to good use. In 1991 I left to spend a year working with the legendary Alice Walters. Upon my return Rose and Ruth made me head chef and invited me to become a partner in the business.

I could have happily stayed at The River Café forever but I always felt that I might look back and wonder if I could ever have done it on my own. So, after seventeen happy years by the river, I decided to have a go on my own. In November 2006 I opened my first restaurant, Theo Randall at The InterContinental Park Lane.

The final part of the story to date is that, in September 2008, we received our first accolade - ‘Italian Restaurant of the Year’ at the London Restaurant Awards. At such an early stage, this was a tremendous accolade for restaurant - and one that we have been driven to live up to ever since. (


Cookbooks by Theo Randall

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