Giles Coren

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Giles Coren
Giles Robin Patrick Coren [1]

(1969-07-29) 29 July 1969 (age 50)
Paddington, London, United Kingdom
ResidenceKentish Town, London, United Kingdom
EducationThe Hall School, Hampstead, London
Westminster School, London
Alma materKeble College, Oxford
OccupationFood critic, journalist, TV presenter and writer
EmployerBBC, ITV and The Times
Spouse(s)Esther Walker (m. 2010)
Parent(s)Alan Coren (deceased)
Anne Coren (née Kasriel)
RelativesVictoria Coren Mitchell (sister)
David Mitchell (brother-in-law)
Alexander Armstrong (brother-in-law)
Michael Coren (cousin)

Giles Robin Patrick Coren[1] (born 29 July 1969) is a British food writer and television presenter. He has been a restaurant critic for The Times newspaper since 1993, and was named Food and Drink Writer of the Year at the British Press Awards in 2005. He has co-starred with comedian Sue Perkins in The Supersizers... series and with chef Monica Galetti in the Amazing Hotels – Life Beyond The Lobby series.

Coren has been involved in a number of controversies, including breaching a privacy injunction, writing abusive emails to colleagues and being accused of anti-Polish sentiment.

Personal life[edit]

Coren was born in Paddington, London, the only son of Anne (née Kasriel) and English humourist Alan Coren. He is the elder brother of journalist Victoria Coren Mitchell. His wife Esther Walker, a journalist and food blogger,[2] is the sister of Hannah Snow, who is married to the comedian Alexander Armstrong.[3] He is related to the Canadian journalist Michael Coren.[4] He has two children, Kitty and Sam.[2]

Coren is a friend of former professional footballer and current sports broadcaster Gary Lineker.[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 took a First Class degree in English.[8]



Coren has been a restaurant critic for The Times since 1993, and 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 restaurant reviews, 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 "a sharp, witty columnist who can write with tongue in cheek". According to English's study the average grade in Coren's reviews in The Times was 6.86. According to Coren 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, and he is currently editor-at-large for Esquire. 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 was published in 2010,[20] and his second, How To Eat Out, 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 his brother-in-law comedian Alexander Armstrong[citation needed]) 12 Drinks of Christmas for the same channel. In 2014, Coren ventured to North America. Firstly, 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 and attracted a big audience to the slot.

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 on 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 is "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.[36]


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,[37] 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.[38] The Daily Telegraph said the incident was "not the first time the critic has been caught out writing abusive emails to colleagues".[39] The exchange was reprinted in the American magazine Harper's in October 2008.[40]

Polish controversy[edit]

In his next article, on 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".[41]

Coren's comments led to a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission,[42] an early day motion in the UK parliament,[43] and a critical editorial in The Economist.[44] 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."[45] He also told The Jewish Chronicle: "Fuck the Poles".[46] 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 lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.[47]

According to professor Gábor Halmai, while the generalisation used by Coren was unacceptable, it was rooted in historical Polish anti-Semitism during and after World War II. According to Halmai, Coren's harsh words allude to the Jedwabne pogrom described in Jan T. Gross's book Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland which describes the murder of the Jewish inhabitants of Jedwabne by the Polish residents in July 1941.[48]

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".[49][50] 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."[49]

Privacy injunction and alleged contempt of court[edit]

On 13 May 2011, Coren attracted more controversy after joking about a privacy injunction by posting on his Twitter feed: "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.[51][52]

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.[53] 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."[54] 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.[55][56] 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."[57]

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.[58] 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.[59] 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".[60]


  • 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


  1. ^ a b Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales confirms subject's full name. Publisher: General Register Office. Retrieved: 18 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ "Giles Coren - Tatler". Tatler. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ "Ooorrrder! (Podcast episode 30:30-33)".
  6. ^ "Expletive deleted - does Giles Coren just want to be loved?". Hampstead & Highgate Express ( 2 October 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  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)
  9. ^ Cuozzo, Steve (8 March 2015). "Food critics are out of touch with what people really eat". New York Post.
  10. ^ McLennan, Louisa (16 March 2005). "Judges toast Times Online writers". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  11. ^ a b "Giles Coren Tells All". Channel 4. 6 September 2007. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  12. ^ "Author: Giles Coren". Random House. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  13. ^ English, Peter, and David Fleischman. "Food for Thought in Restaurant Reviews: Lifestyle journalism or an extension of marketing in UK and Australian newspapers." Journalism Practice 13.1 (2019): 90-104.
  14. ^ "Time Out hires Giles Coren as columnist". Media Week. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  15. ^ Dyson, James (1997). Against The Odds: An Autobiography. Orion Business. ISBN 0-7528-0981-4. ...I was flattered when he agreed to collaborate on this book.
  16. ^ Sooke, Alistair (29 August 2005). "Fiction – Fockn' funny". New Statesman. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  17. ^ Bywater, Michael (14 October 2005). "Winkler, by Giles Coren". The Independent. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  18. ^ "Bad sex book prize for journalist". BBC News. 1 December 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  19. ^ "The longlisted passages for the Bad Sex in Fiction award". The Guardian. 28 November 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  20. ^ "What makes Coren so cross?". The Independent. 30 May 2010.
  21. ^ "Our Mission - Ethical & Sustainable Restaurant Practices". Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Animal Farm". Channel 4. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  23. ^ "Interview: Giles Coren, author and restaurant critic". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. 23 May 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  24. ^ Dowell, Ben (3 February 2006). "Coren to host movie show on Five". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  25. ^ "Edwardian Supersize Me". BBC Two. 22 December 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  26. ^ "The Supersizers Go..." BBC Two. 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  27. ^ "The Supersizers Eat..." BBC. 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
  28. ^ "Our Food". 11 April 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  29. ^ "Did You Catch the Debut of Pressure Cooker?". Eater Montreal. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  30. ^ Ellie Austin. "Back in Time for Dinner: Food critic Giles Coren on his new BBC2 series, fad diets, and why the government should get involved in the obesity problem". RadioTimes. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  31. ^ "BBC Two - Eat to Live Forever with Giles Coren". BBC. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  32. ^ "Giles Coren to Host 500 Questions on ITV".
  33. ^ "ITV asks 500 Questions with major format deal".
  34. ^ "Giles Coren to Host 500 Questions on ITV". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  35. ^ Wollaston, Sam (28 March 2017). "Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby review … Giles Coren does his dirty laundry – badly". The Guardian.
  36. ^
  37. ^ Coren, Giles (1 October 2008). "Potty-mouthed and proud". The Spectator. 308 (9397). p. 20. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  38. ^ Media Monkey (23 July 2008). "Read Giles Coren's letter to Times subs". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  39. ^ Moore, Matthew (24 July 2008). "Restaurant reviewer Giles Coren abuses colleagues in leaked email". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  40. ^ "The joke is gone". Harper's Magazine. October 2008. Retrieved 18 November 2010.(subscription required)
  41. ^ Coren, Giles (26 July 2008). "Two waves of immigration, Poles apart". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2008.(subscription required)
  42. ^ Conlan, Tara (8 August 2008). "Giles Coren Times article prompts Polish complaints to PCC". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
  43. ^ Early day motion 2529 – PRESS COMPLAINTS COMMISSION AND GILES COREN UK Parliament, 19 November 2008
  44. ^ "Unacceptable prejudice". The Economist. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
  45. ^ Coren, Giles (2 August 2008). "The winner's version of history. That's original". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2008.(subscription required)
  46. ^ Krieger, Candice (14 August 2008). "Coren launches his own assault on Poland". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012.
  47. ^ Shure, Jan (5 March 2009). "Poles take Coren fight to European Court". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  48. ^ [1] The Neighbours’ Fear. Anti-Semitism in Poland Before and After World War II. Fundamentum, English Edition, 5/2008. 82-87, Gábor Halmai
  49. ^ a b Prigg, Mark (13 January 2010). "Giles Coren's Twitter tirade at neighbour's boy for playing drum kit". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 16 January 2010.
  50. ^ "What makes Coren so cross?". The Independent. 30 May 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  51. ^ Jim Waterson (22 May 2011). "How bizarre!". Twitter. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  52. ^ "Giles Coren on Twitter (archived)". Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  53. ^ Evans, Martin (23 May 2011). "Journalist could be jailed over Twitter comments about injunctions". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  54. ^ Giles Coren (22 May 2011). "A funny fucking day". Twitter. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  55. ^ "Bercow at centre of Giggs naming controversy". Buckingham Advertiser. Johnston Publishing. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  56. ^ Sky News Giggs Named In Commons As Footballer Identified On Twitter In Context Of Injunctions YouTube, 23 May 2011
  57. ^ Camilla Long (29 May 2011). "John Hemming: Try beating my 26, Giggsy". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  58. ^ "Giles Coren named as journalist accused of breaking an injunction". The Telegraph. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  59. ^ TSE & Anor v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2011] EWHC 1308 (QB) (19 May 2011), High Court (England and Wales)
  60. ^ 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.

External links[edit]