Thursday, January 26, 2012
Antony Worrall Thompson’s Cruise Ship Cooking Demo Axed After Shoplifting Arrest
Troubled celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson's cooking demonstrations on a luxury cruise ship have been given the chop following his arrest for shoplifting.
AWT was due to deliver his culinary tricks of the trade (first steal 1kg of onions...) on the MSC Splendida for its cruise in February, but the line-up was changed “with regret” following the news this month that he’d been caught stealing at Tesco in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
The recession-hit cook will instead be replaced by celebrity chef Paul Rankin for the seven-night cruise visiting Barcelona, Valletta, La Goulette, Civitavecchia, and Marseille.
“In the wake of the coverage which appeared in the media and Mr Thompson’s own public announcement of his desire to seek appropriate treatment for his condition, we felt that his presence on board was no longer tenable at this particular time,” said a spokesman at MSC Cruises.
The firm said Rankin - who appears on Ready Steady Cook and Ten Mile Menu, and won Northern Ireland’s first Michelin Star - will “showcase some of his best loved dishes – and a selection unique to MSC”.
It said Rankin (above), 52, was a “passionate supporter of local produce, so much so that in 2002 he launched The Rankin Selection, a range of traditional foods now stocked in supermarkets throughout the UK.”
Not sure if they’re stocked at Tesco in Henley, but AWT didn’t nick any when he failed to pay for items at the self-service checkouts FIVE times in 16 days over the Christmas period.
Some goods were scanned and paid for while others, including blocks of cheese from the deli and bottles of wine, were sneaked into bags without going through the till.
Suspicious staff set up a hidden camera in the self-checkout area to catch the wily 60-year-old and prove he had not simply forgotten to pay.
Wozza - who is a fund-raiser for the Tories - was stopped by security guards in front of shoppers as he tried to leave the shop on January 6.
He was arrested on suspicion of theft and given a caution at a local police station after admitting the offences.
The cook is now receiving counselling to try to figure out why he stole the items, and has come up with a basketful of excuses from his abuse at boarding school to aliens invading.
He said after his arrest: “I am so sorry for all my recent stupid and irresponsible actions; I am of course devastated for my family and friends, whom I've let down and will seek the treatment that is clearly needed.
“I am not the first, and I certainly won't be the last person to do something without rhyme or reason - what went through my head, only time will tell.”
"Reading this book is a serious test for any food writer. Not only has Alex Watts done what all of us say we would like to do, tested his mettle in a professional kitchen, he also writes about his experiences so well that you spend as much time being jealous of his writing skills as you do of his experiences. It's an annoyingly enjoyable read." - Simon Majumdar
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