Biography of a masterchef

Terence Conran (who apparently prefers to be Sir-less) was a foodie long before he became a gift to chefs by designing a special school for them (DW 21 July).

Cooking plays a major role in Terence Conran: The Authorised Biography by Nicholas Ind, published last week by Sidgwick & Jackson, priced at 25.

The young Terence recalls his first visit to a French restaurant in Soho called The Bagatelle. “He can’t remember what he ate, but recalls that things such as asparagus and avocados seemed tremendously exotic,” says the book, which is peppered with references to eating holes owned and enjoyed by Conran.

Ind’s portrait appears to be lacking in sycophancy – the protagonist is described as “tactless, abrasive, bullying, impatient, charming and passionate”. And Conran admits that “to allow your biography to be written while you are still alive is both foolish and egotistical”.

Ind’s lucid insight into Conran’s life so far reveals a fascinating – and not unlikeable – person.

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