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“By that stage, it was interesting. I really became quite an


aggressive little girl… Gordon used to call me ‘the South African rottweiler’. Then I went to work at Maze with Jason Atherton.” That she said was “tricky” at first. Maze was breaking new


ground with tapas-style dishes. The number of covers was huge and everything was “extraordinarily creative”. But she was impressed by Jason Atherton, and in the end she loved it. By this time, Angie was a Gordon Ramsay “lifer”, drawn into his TV shows as well as his kitchens – she even ended up running the second series of The F Word. “We were really hands-on with Gordon,” Angie says. “He was amazing. He had so much energy. There was such a good vibe about him and he would take the time to show you things. I loved that about Gordon… I only ever had serious respect for Gordon because he was the best at what he did.”


But after eight years, Angie says, she was ready to leave. “I didn’t want to go into restaurants… I felt like I wanted to do my own thing, something else, and I really enjoyed teaching. On my days off, people would ask me to do private cooking lessons and I started to get into that in my own time and I really enjoyed it so I thought I’d give it a go.”


She spent a year working for an award-winning caterer, but found “cooking in bulk” frustrating. And then The Avenue Cookery School invited Angie to do one-off cookery evenings. It worked well and in the summer Angie was invited to join the cookery school as a partner. “It’s interesting, I really had this idea of Angie Steele doing private one-on-one lessons and it really seems to have evolved into other things,” she says. Already, Angie has launched Avenue Kitchen – gourmet packed lunches for delivery to businesses – and there are plans for corporate days and Christmas parties. But her ambitions don’t end there. “Inevitably, I’d like to go into TV,” Angie says, matter-of-factly. “I’d love to be able to do a TV programme about food, leisure and lifestyle. There are so many cooking programmes now, and they’re good, but they really are very food-based. “I just feel there’s a gap in the market for a food-based TV


programme that’s not just about doing the food but about doing a beautiful table layout, different ideas for flower arrangements. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive: just quirky ideas. “And how to do a garden and what herbs to grow where and matching up food and wine and incorporating all of that into a TV programme. It’s not just about the food, it’s about learning other things in life and combining things. I’d like to do something like that – almost like a modern-day Martha Stewart.” Apart from growing the cookery school and producing a book based on a series of articles she has written for a South African newspaper, Angie is also – and, amazingly, given her career – planning to get married.


She dated a lot of chefs, she says, but she grew tired of talking about food all the time. And then, just before she joined Maze, she met Charlie Brooksbank, director of UK-based heli-skiing company, Pure Powder. It wasn’t easy, Angie admits. “Try and tell a man that you get one


day off a week and you’re working 18 hours a day and you’ll see him in-between. It doesn’t go down too well. It was interesting trying to hold down a relationship while working those hours.” But, as usual, Angie got what she wanted. The couple now live together in Brook Green, west London.


www.theavenuecookeryschool.com


“I’d love to be able to do a TV programme about food, leisure and lifestyle. There are so many cooking programmes now, and they’re good, but they really are very food-based.”


Angie Steele


BUSINESS: Erik Brown erik.brown@pubbiz.com


business


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