Giles Coren

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Giles Coren
Coren in 2021
Giles Robin Patrick Coren[1]

(1969-07-29) 29 July 1969 (age 54)
Paddington, London, United Kingdom
Alma materKeble College, Oxford
Occupation(s)Food critic, journalist, TV presenter and writer
Employer(s)BBC, ITV and The Times
SpouseEsther Walker (m. 2010)

Giles Robin Patrick Coren[1] (born 29 July 1969) is a British columnist, food writer, and television and radio presenter. He has been a restaurant critic for The Times newspaper since 2002, and was named Food and Drink Writer of the Year at the British Press Awards in 2005.

Early life[edit]

Coren was born in Paddington, London, the only son of Anne (née Kasriel) and English journalist and humourist Alan Coren.[2][3] His father had been brought up in an Orthodox Jewish household, but his own upbringing was less Orthodox.[4] He is the elder brother of journalist Victoria Coren Mitchell, and also related to the Canadian journalist Michael Coren.[5]


Coren was educated at The Hall School, an independent boys' junior school in Hampstead, London,[6] and at Westminster School, an independent boys' senior school in Central London,[7] followed by Keble College at the University of Oxford, where he was awarded a first-class degree in English.[8]



Coren has been a restaurant critic for The Times since 2002, having previously been restaurant critic for Tatler magazine and The Independent on Sunday. He was named "Food And Drink Writer of the Year"[9] at the 2005 British Press Awards and in 2016 was named Restaurant Writer of the Year at the Fortnum and Mason Awards.[10][11] As well as his restaurant work, he also contributes a regular column to The Times, the subjects of which range from personal life to politics. Under the pseudonym Professor Gideon Garter he wrote The Intellectual's Guide to Fashion for The Sunday Times.[12]

According to a paper published in Journalism Practice by Dr. Peter English and Dr. David Fleischman, Coren is "a sharp, witty columnist who can write with tongue in cheek". According to an English study, the average grade in Coren's reviews in The Times was 6.86. Coren claims his average score is actually 6.3, but should be 5; however, he produces "no more than half a dozen really bad" reviews a year.[13]

Coren has contributed articles to publications including Tatler and GQ. In November 2014, he joined Time Out as a columnist, writing weekly on city life.[14]


Coren is credited by inventor James Dyson as the co-author of his autobiography published in 1997.[15]

In 2005, he published his first novel, Winkler, reviewed in the New Statesman[16] and The Independent.[17] One section of the novel won the Literary Review's "Bad Sex in Fiction Award".[18][19]

Coren has also written two non-fiction books: the first, Anger Management (For Beginners), a compilation of columns he had written for The Times, which was published in 2010;[20] and his second, How To Eat Out, which was published in 2012.

Coren is the editor of the dining guide Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery: A Guide to the Truly Good Restaurants and Food Experiences of the UK.[21]


In 2005, Coren appeared as a regular correspondent on Gordon Ramsay's The F Word.[11] In June 2006, he presented a programme on More4, entitled Tax the Fat, about clinical obesity and the cost it presents to the NHS.[citation needed] He co-presented the Channel 4 series Animal Farm with Dr Olivia Judson in March 2007.[22] Around the same time, he appeared in a series of television commercials advertising Birds Eye frozen foods.[23] Also in 2006, Coren presented the film and DVD review programme Movie Lounge.[24]

With comedian Sue Perkins, Coren co-starred in a series of documentaries known as The Supersizers.... In the first, Edwardian Supersize Me (BBC Four, 2007), the two spent a week on the diet of a wealthy Edwardian (i.e. pre-WWI) couple.[25] The second series (The Supersizers Go...) broadcast in May 2008 on BBC Two.[26] The 2009 series, The Supersizers Eat..., covered the cuisine of the 1980s, the 1950s, 1920s, the French Revolution, Medieval culture, and ancient Rome.[27]

In 2012, Coren presented Our Food on the BBC, travelling the country talking about various local foods.[28] In 2013, he presented Passover - Why is this night different? for BBC1 and co-presented (alongside Alexander Armstrong) 12 Drinks of Christmas for the same channel. In 2014, Coren ventured to North America. First, he filmed Pressure Cooker, a cooking competition show co-hosted by Anne-Marie Withenshaw and Chuck Hughes, produced by Jamie Oliver’s Fresh One Productions and Bristow Global Media, and broadcast on Canada's W Network and the US FYI Network.[29] Coren followed that up with Million Dollar Critic for BBC America, which premiered on 22 January 2015 directly after Gordon Ramsay's New Kitchen Nightmares.

In 2015, Coren began a new BBC series, co-presented with social historian Polly Russell. Back in Time for Dinner, six-hour-long programmes broadcast from March 2015[30] Back in Time for Dinner achieved a BAFTA nomination in the 'Features' category. Back in Time for Christmas (Christmas food) and Back in Time for the Weekend (leisure activities) followed. In 2016, Coren filmed Back in Time for Brixton and Further Back in Time for Dinner and the two were released in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Eat to Live Forever was shown in March 2015.[31]

In 2016, Coren fronted the one-off documentary My Failed Novel for Sky Arts. For the same channel, he co-hosted eight-part series Fake! The Great Masterpiece Challenge alongside art historian Rose Balston. In 2016, he presented 500 Questions, a four-part primetime game show on ITV.[32][33] The series is taken from the US where it aired on ABC. Created by Mark Burnett, it was described as "an intense battle of brainpower that will test even the smartest of contestants".[34]

In 2017, he presented Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby alongside Monica Galetti.[35] A second series aired in 2018, a third in 2020 and a fourth in 2021–22.[36] Coren's departure from Amazing Hotels was announced in 2022.[37]


Between September 2019 and July 2020, Coren presented a weekly programme on Talkradio, on Sundays from 7pm to 10pm.[38] Between July 2020 and December 2021, he presented a weekly programme on Times Radio, on Friday afternoons.[39]


Leaked e-mail to subeditors[edit]

On 23 July 2008, The Guardian's media blog published an email from Coren to sub-editors at The Times. Coren's internal Times email used profanity, the use of which he defends,[40] to take issue with a colleague's removal of an indefinite article (an "a") from his piece, which he believed ruined a joke in his last line. Coren said a joke was lost in the change from "a nosh" (meaning fellatio) to "nosh"—a word derived from Yiddish meaning "food", which he doubted his editors knew better than he.[41] The Daily Telegraph said the incident was "not the first time the critic has been caught out writing abusive emails to colleagues".[42] The exchange was reprinted in the American magazine Harper's in October 2008.[43]

Polish controversy[edit]

In his next article, dated 26 July 2008, Coren said his Jewish ancestors had been persecuted by Poles. He stated that Poles used to burn Jews in synagogues for entertainment at Easter; and that Poland is in denial about its role in the Holocaust. He referred to immigrant Poles as "Polacks", arguing that "if England is not the land of milk and honey it appeared to them three or four years ago, then, frankly, they can clear off out of it".[44]

Coren's comments led to a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission,[45] an early day motion in the Parliament of the United Kingdom,[46] and a critical editorial in The Economist.[47] Coren responded: "I wrote in passing that the Poles remain in denial about their responsibility for the Holocaust. How gratifying, then, to see so many letters in The Times in the subsequent days from Poles denying their responsibility for the Holocaust."[48] He also told The Jewish Chronicle: "Fuck the Poles".[49] After the Press Complaints Commission rejected their complaint because the criticism had been of a group rather than an individual, the Federation of Poles in Great Britain (FPGB) lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.[50]

Professor Gábor Halmai of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency said "I completely share the criticisms" of the piece made by The Economist. He said that amid an internal debate about an FRA response, a colleague had said "it is not even certain that what Coren stated with regard to his past had taken place at all". Halmai responded that while the generalisation used by Coren was unacceptable, it was protected under freedom of expression, conceding the existence of the Jedwabne, Krakow and Kielce pogroms. [51]

Mediawatch complaint over Twitter posting[edit]

On 14 January 2010, Coren attracted criticism after he posted on his Twitter feed: "Next door have bought their 12-year-old son a drum kit. For fuck's sake! Do I kill him then burn it? Or do I fuck him, then kill him then burn it?" Vivienne Pattison, director of watchdog Mediawatch UK, condemned the remark as "very bad taste".[52][53] Coren later posted: "Oh hell's bells. Look, can I just say I didn't kill the kid, or have sex with him. And anyway he's not real. And I live in Vienna."[52]

Privacy injunction and alleged contempt of court[edit]

On 13 May 2011, Coren attracted controversy after joking about a privacy injunction by posting on his Twitter account: "god, ANOTHER injunction tonight. another footballer. and SUCH a boring one. fucking shit midfielder... he's yet another very ugly married man who's been carrying on with a gold-digging flopsie he should have seen coming a MILE away". Then on 14 May he tweeted "Gareth Barry looks remarkably relaxed when you consider that... first touch for Gareth Barry... not according to what I've heard... time for a bet. what chance Barry to score? tiny fiver on barry to score at 22–1. wdv been nice to get a double with Giggs in the match before... Barry's been pulled off...". This was later deleted but was archived.[54][55]

On 22 May 2011, it was reported that lawyers at Schillings acting for an England footballer had persuaded the High Court judge Mr. Justice Tugendhat to ask the Attorney General for England and Wales, Dominic Grieve, to consider the criminal prosecution of "a top journalist" over a matter that breached a privacy injunction.[56] Coren acknowledged on Twitter that he could face jail for contempt of court, saying: "A funny fucking day. The support of twitter has been almost tear-jerking. But I am afraid there won't be room for all of us in the cell. xxx."[57] On 23 May 2011, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament John Hemming spoke in the House of Commons and used parliamentary privilege to identify Coren as the person involved, leading to an immediate rebuke from Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.[58][59] In an interview with The Sunday Times on 29 May 2011, Hemming stated that he considered naming both footballers in the Coren controversy, before the Speaker stopped him. Hemming commented that the Speaker was "probably right to do so", and added: "I couldn't be guaranteed his family didn't know, whereas Giggs' name had been chanted on the terraces."[60]

According to The Daily Telegraph, the Premier League footballer identified by Coren in the tweets was not Ryan Giggs, and was known in the privacy injunction by the pseudonym TSE.[61] The case at the High Court of Justice was TSE & ELP v News Group Newspapers Ltd, with TSE being described as "a married footballer" who had been involved in an extra-marital relationship with a woman known as ELP. Neither person had wished The Sun to publish the details of the relationship.[62] The injunction was granted on 13 May 2011 by Mr. Justice Tugendhat, who accepted claims from the footballer that publication of the details of the relationship "would provoke the cruel chants of supporters." Tugendhat said that aspects of the case had been published on "various electronic media, including Twitter", but added: "the fact that these publications have occurred does not mean that there should be no injunction in this case".[63]

Accusations of misogyny against a journalist[edit]

In 2012, Coren responded to criticism from then Huffington Post journalist Alice Vincent by responding, "go fuck yourself, you barren old hag."[64] Vincent, 23, had said a recent column by Coren about his newborn daughter was a "yawn" and "one step up from a mumsnet blogpost."[65] Coren's response sparked accusations of misogyny and sexism.[66][67][68]

Fake Polish Twitter account[edit]

In December 2018, it was discovered that Giles Coren had an alternative Twitter account that "he once used to suggest people critical of him were motivated by antisemitism".[69] The account stated to be of a Polish plumber with a bio composed in broken English and Coren's book cover as avatar.[70]

Tweets after the death of Dawn Foster[edit]

In July 2021, following the death of the journalist Dawn Foster, Coren tweeted the following:

"When someone dies who has trolled you on Twitter, saying vile and hurtful things about you and your family, is it okay to be like, 'I am sorry for the people who loved you, and any human death diminishes me, but, HA HA HA HA HA HA'?"[71]

An earlier version of this tweet included the words, "you can fuck off on to hell now where you belong" in place of, "HA HA HA HA HA HA".[72]

Both tweets were quickly deleted but were screen-grabbed and widely shared online.[73] There was speculation that Coren was upset because of a tweet Foster had written about him that read, "Giles Coren a prime example of how the “if I’ve heard of yer da, I don’t need to hear from you” rule holds for almost every man bar Jesus."[74][75] Coren's comments stirred considerable controversy, with several figures in the media criticising him, and some calling for him to lose his jobs with The Times and Times Radio.[76] The press regulator IPSO received several complaints but took no action[77] and Coren's home in North London was daubed in graffiti paying tribute to Foster. It read: "Dawn Foster Forever".[78] Dog excrement was reportedly left at his property.[79]

Popeyes review controversy[edit]

In January 2022, The Times magazine published Coren's review of a new Popeyes branch in Stratford, East London. Coren wrote that "exploiters" of fried chicken recipes in chain restaurants had brought "obesity, sloth, waste, [and] high street degradation" to white communities. In the article Coren wrote:

Isn't fried chicken, in a weird way, a form of race revenge? The thrusting young economies of West Africa now must surely look at a KFC bargain bucket and high-five themselves that their ancestors had the forethought, all those years ago, to provide the means by which white culture would one day poison itself to death.[80]

The Independent's Race Correspondent, Nadine White, tweeted: "A review of the new London Popeyes restaurant in The Times. Fried chicken = Black people = sloth, waste, degradation."[81]

Personal life[edit]

Coren met his wife Esther Walker,[82] a journalist, author and food blogger,[83] around 2007.[82] They have two children and live in Kentish Town.[84]

He drives a Jaguar I-Pace, which has been stolen more than once.[85][86][84][87]


  • Coren, Giles Winkler; London: Jonathan Cape Ltd, 2005
  • Coren, Giles Anger Management for Beginners: A Self-Help Course in 70 Lessons; London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2010
  • Coren, Giles How to Eat Out: Lessons from a Life Lived Mostly in Restaurants; London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2012


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  3. ^ Leaf, Chris (13 November 2015). "Giles Coren Moves To The Country". Esquire. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  4. ^ "A Jewish Telegraph Newspaper". Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  5. ^ "I seldom hear about her [Heather Mallick], but did when she wrote an obsessively fawning piece after the British author and journalist Alan Coren died. The reason was that the noted editor and TV personality was my cousin, and a dear man who helped me more than I can say and whom I miss very much." Opinion column by Michael Coren entitled "Canada: A rogue state?" Hardly Ottawa Sun 5 December 2013.
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  7. ^ Coren, Giles (27 September 2008). "Ruth Kelly at 3 am: I know what happened". The Times. ...I was at both school (Westminster) and university (Oxford) with her(subscription required)
  8. ^ Coren, Giles (26 September 2009). "University is for sex. But I failed miserably". The Times. In three years at Oxford..." and "What I was thinking of, of course, was getting a stonking degree. And I did." and "...having, as I said, had plenty of time to work extremely hard at my English degree...(subscription required)
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  32. ^ "Press Releases". Press Centre.
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  39. ^ Lerone, Toby (2 June 2020). "Launch date and schedule revealed for Times Radio". RadioToday. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  40. ^ Coren, Giles (1 October 2008). "Potty-mouthed and proud". The Spectator. Vol. 308, no. 9397. p. 20. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
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  43. ^ "The joke is gone". Harper's Magazine. October 2008. Retrieved 18 November 2010.(subscription required)
  44. ^ Coren, Giles (26 July 2008). "Two waves of immigration, Poles apart". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2008.(subscription required)
  45. ^ Conlan, Tara (8 August 2008). "Giles Coren Times article prompts Polish complaints to PCC". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  46. ^ Early day motion 2529 – Press Complaints Commission and Giles Coren Archived 5 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine UK Parliament, 19 November 2008
  47. ^ "Unacceptable prejudice". The Economist. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  48. ^ Coren, Giles (2 August 2008). "The winner's version of history. That's original". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2008.(subscription required)
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  51. ^ [1] The Neighbours’ Fear. Anti-Semitism in Poland Before and After World War II. Fundamentum, English Edition, 5/2008. 82-87, Gábor Halmai
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  59. ^ Sky News Giggs Named In Commons As Footballer Identified On Twitter In Context Of Injunctions YouTube, 23 May 2011
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  62. ^ TSE & Anor v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2011] EWHC 1308 (QB) (19 May 2011), High Court (England and Wales)
  63. ^ Rayner, Gordon (23 May 2011). "Footballer granted injunction to avoid 'boos and cruel chants' at Premier League games". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
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  65. ^ "Just accept it Giles, your new baby has made you go all soft". 19 May 2012. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 27 September 2023.
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  70. ^ ""It gives you the freedom to be violent to other people": what has the alt account become?". 24 January 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  71. ^ Giles Coren [@gilescoren] (20 July 2021). "When someone dies who has trolled you on Twitter, saying vile and hurtful things about you and your family, is it okay to be like, "I'm sorry for the people who loved you, and any human death diminishes me, but, HA HA HA HA HA HA"?" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 20 July 2021 – via Twitter.
  72. ^ Hill, Rose (21 July 2021). "BBC presenter Giles Coren deletes two 'sick' tweets mocking death after huge backlash". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 21 July 2021. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
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  80. ^ Coren, Giles. "Giles Coren reviews Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, London". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
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  82. ^ a b "My Kentish Town: Journalist Esther Walker - 'I married Giles Coren because he had a house in north London'". Hampstead Highgate Express. 31 August 2013.
  83. ^ Ellie Austin (17 March 2015). "Giles Coren on taxing the fat, being an "urban food ponce" and why life wasn't better in the 1950s". Radio Times, London. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  84. ^ a b Rodger, James (15 July 2021). "Giles Coren livid as £65k Jaguar stolen for second time in three months". BirminghamLive.
  85. ^ Coren, Giles [@gilescoren] (15 July 2021). "They've stolen my fucking car AGAIN!!!! Cost me three grand to reset the keys and put in a new tracking system after last time and what good does it do? FUCK ALL. If you see a black Jaguar ipace reg ending JVN could you tell me? I'll give you a million pounds" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 20 July 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2021 – via Twitter.
  86. ^ "Giles Coren's £65,000 eco-jag stolen for second time".
  87. ^ Makoni, Abbianca (16 July 2021). "Giles Coren's £65,000 eco-jag stolen for second time".

External links[edit]