Allegra McEvedy

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Allegra McEvedy
Allegra Sarah Bazzett McEvedy

November 1970 (age 48)
Hammersmith, London, England
EducationSt Paul's Girls' School
OccupationChef, broadcaster, writer
Known forCo-founder, Leon Restaurants
Spouse(s)Susi Smither (2006-12)
Parent(s)Colin McEvedy

Allegra Sarah Bazzett McEvedy MBE (born November 1970)[1] is an English chef, broadcaster and writer.

Early life[edit]

McEvedy was born and raised in Hammersmith. Her father Colin McEvedy was a consultant psychiatrist, historian and writer; her mother was a writer.[2] She was privately educated at St Paul's Girls' School,[3] attending the school at the same time as Daisy Garnett, later food columnist of The Observer.[2] McEvedy's mother died when she was aged 17. As a consequence of this, and the stress arising from coming out as gay, she found adjusting to adult life difficult and was expelled from school—though she nevertheless took and passed her A-levels.[2]


McEvedy completed her classical French training in 1991 at the Cordon Bleu in London. She also obtained the Higher Certificate from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

She later worked at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill, Green's, The Belvedere in Holland Park, Alfred's, the Groucho Club and The River Café. She got her first Head Chef position at Tom Conran's restaurant The Cow, in Notting Hill, at the age of 24.

During a spell in the U.S., facilitated by being awarded a special visa as 'an alien with extraordinary ability in the culinary arts', McEvedy worked at Rubicon and Jardinière in San Francisco, and ran the kitchen at Robert De Niro's New York restaurant Tribeca Grill, regularly doing 500 covers a night. Whilst in New York she catered for an exclusive Democratic Party fundraiser, personally cooking for President Clinton.

Upon returning to London, McEvedy joined The Good Cook group, initially as Head Chef of The Tabernacle, a community restaurant in Notting Hill, and later as Head Chef of The Good Cook in Kensington High Street. In summer 2000 she set up the first outdoor café in the Zaha Hadid Pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery. Between 2002 and 2004 she was the inaugural Chef in Residence at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. McEvedy opened Blackfoot, a pork-focused restaurant in Exmouth Market, London, in December 2013; it remained open until February 2016.

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours for services to the hospitality industry.[4][5]


McEvedy co-founded Leon, a healthy fast-food restaurant group, with Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent. Leon opened its first outlet in Carnaby Street in 2004.[6] Six months after opening, Leon was named the "Best New Restaurant in Great Britain" at the Observer Food Monthly Awards. In March 2009 McEvedy gave up her role at Leon to focus on writing and television work, but she remains a shareholder in the business.

Writing, TV and radio[edit]

McEvedy published her first book, The Good Cook (Hodder) in 2000, and in October 2006 published her second, Allegra McEvedy's Colour Cookbook (Kyle Cathie). It won the International Association of Culinary Professionals 2007 Cookbook award in the Chefs and Restaurants category. In October 2008 her third book, Leon: Ingredients & Recipes (Conran Octopus); Giles Coren of The Times said it was "Without doubt, the coolest food book I have ever seen."

McEvedy was the Chef in Residence at The Guardian starting 2007. However, her last article there was printed in February 2015.

A six-part BBC Two series Economy Gastronomy, presented by McEvedy and Paul Merrett, began in August 2009 and was accompanied by a book of the same title.

In 2015 she replaced Mary Berry as one of the two judges in the BBC TV series Junior Bake Off.[7] She also judged the 2016 Junior Bake Off alongside Nadiya Hussein.[8] In 2016 she is one of the judges of BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards, judging the Cook of the Year award.[9]

Personal life[edit]

In August 2006 she formed a civil partnership with Susi Smither.[2] The couple dissolved their civil partnership in 2012.[10]

Charity work[edit]

Allegra McEvedy has been a Patron of The Fairtrade Foundation since 2012.[11]


  • The Good Cook (2000)
  • Allegra's Colour Cookbook (2006)
  • Colouring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide, co-authored with Fred Dickieson (2007)
  • Leon: Ingredients & Recipes (2008)
  • Economy Gastronomy: Eat Better and Spend Less, co-authored with Paul Merrett (2009)
  • Bought, Borrowed & Stolen: Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef
  • Big Table, Busy Kitchen: 200 Recipes for Life (2013)
  • Around the World in 120 Recipes (2013)
  • Quick, Quick, Slow (2016)


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d Daisy Garnett (22 October 2006). "Fudge can be fun – just add cannabis". London: The Observer. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
  3. ^ Barton, Robin (7 December 2008). "Close-up: Allegra McEvedy". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 18 June 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
  4. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours: Full list". The Independent. London. 13 June 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  5. ^ "No. 58729". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2008. p. 20.
  6. ^ Scott-Moncrieff, Chloe (22 January 2006). "Fast food needn't be junk food". The Independent. London. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
  7. ^ Allegra McEvedy on IMDb
  8. ^
  9. ^ Meet the judges of the 2016 Food and Farming Awards. Retrieved 14 February 2016
  10. ^ Amy Everett (3 October 2012). "Allegra McEvedy This Life Interview". London: Red. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  11. ^ My Secret Life: Allegra McEvedy, 41, Chef. Retrieved 14 February 2016

External links[edit]