New Zealand born Alex Mackay is a cook who loves food and the people who want to learn about it. Ten years ago he turned to teaching when a request from Raymond Blanc took him back to Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons to become director of Le Manoir Cookery School and set up a publishing and consultancy department.
In 1999 he opened his own school, Le Baou d’Infer, in Provence. It was soon placed in the world top ten by the Sunday Times and Conde Nast Traveller as well as being voted one of the Worlds Finest by House and Garden Travel. The cookery school is now finished after fulfilling its five year plan and always being fully booked.
Today Alex concentrates on his writing, television, training and cookery workshops with Delia Smith at Norwich City Football club. Alex writes a monthly cookery school series in Sainsbury’s the Magazine and contributes to the Saturday telegraph.
He won The Guild of Food Writers Cookery Journalist of the Year 2006/07 and was in a short list of 3 for the same award 2007/08. In 2004 his first book “Cooking in Provence won the Gourmand World Cookbook award for “Best Book on French Cuisine in English” and was in a short list of 3 for “Best First Book” at the Guild of food writers Awards.
Since 2007 Alex has become a regular on Ready Steady Cook. He has featured on This Morning and Too Many Cooks on ITV. Alex was also a regular guest on UKTV’s Great Food Live since the first week of filming,
His live demonstrations are very successful; a series of cookery workshops with Delia Smith is now going into its sixth year.
Alex’s early life was not full of fine food and stirring sauces on his mother’s knee. He preferred the seaside to the kitchen and it was completely by chance that he started working in restaurants after politely being asked to leave his school in New Zealand at the age of 15. He washed dishes for a year before starting an apprenticeship.
Fully qualified at 19 Alex bought a one way ticket to France. He spent two and a half years learning the language and dodging flying saucepans while working in the kitchens of two starred Michelin restaurants in Burgundy, Tours and Courchevel. At the end of all this, two days after a job learning to make wine in Gevrey Chambertain fell through, he found a position advertised at Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons in a French catering newspaper. Owned by Raymond Blanc, his hero, this was a remarkable piece of luck. He was appointed and, after only six months he was promoted to Sous Chef. He stayed with Raymond Blanc for a year and a half, leaving to join the Four ways Inn in Bermuda as Executive Sous Chef.
During his time there, at the age of 23, he was placed second in Bermuda’s Chef of the Year Awards. After a year in Bermuda, Raymond Blanc asked Alex to return to the UK to become the Director of L’École de Cuisine at Le Manoir and Head of development for Blanc Restaurants Ltd in charge of all its publishing and consultancy activities.
Alex spent four and a half years at Le Manoir working on Projects as varied as Raymond Blanc’s books and food for Virgin airlines. Now in his 8th year of working for himself the projects are ever more varied, but food, and people that want to learn about it are always at the centre.
Alex currently lives in Oxford with his wife Jess, and son Jake.
Alex Mackay Writing
*Published in March 2003 by Headline; Cooking in Provence
*1999-Present, Contributor to Sainsbury’s Magazine
*2004-Present, Contributor to Saturday Telegraph
*2002-2004, Contributor to BBC Good Food Magazine
*September 1999 to September 2001 Monthly Column for simply food online
Television and Radio
*January – November 2007, Ready Steady Cook
*June 2005, TOO MANY COOKS
*2004-2006, Monthly slot on BBC Radio Oxford
*2001-Present, Regular Guest on Great Food Live as well as numerous VT
*June, July 2004, Guest Chef on This Morning
*Jan-March 2001, 13 half hour programmes “The Alex Factor 2” for Carlton Food
*April 2000, 10 Half hour programmes at Le Baou d’Infer for Carlton Food Network
*March 2000, Ten Strands for CFN daily, filmed in New Zealand
*1999, 13 half hour programmes “The Alex factor” for Carlton Food Network
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