Friday, April 13, 2012

Padstow Chef Scores Surprise Bestseller

A friend on holiday in Cornwall spotted this billboard poster about my book outside a newsagent in Porthcothan Bay...

Story in the Cornish Guardian - original article HERE...

Alex's Fabulous Failure

A WRITER has told of his surprise after his book about his failure to make it as a chef stormed to the top of the Amazon Kindle pro-cooking best-seller chart.

Alex Watts' book Down And Out In Padstow And London is a humorous account of the years he spent training to be a chef, including stints at Heston Blumenthal's famous Fat Duck restaurant and Rick Stein's kitchens in Padstow.

The eBook version was an overnight success, sparking dozens of good reviews on Twitter, and is in the Top 40 of the Kindle Store's food and drink bestseller chart, above the likes of Delia and Nigella.

It is also the best-selling eBook in Amazon's professional cooking chart. Alex, 41, a journalist and sometime cook from Burnham, Bucks, said: "I've been really pleased with the success, especially as it's self-published and I've just had to rely on word of mouth.

"But it is ironic that a book detailing my disastrous attempt to train as a professional chef is now top of the Kindle cooking chart. There's a section on my failed audition for Masterchef, which I think helped a lot because so many people watched the last show."

The paperback version came out on Amazon last month, but Alex hadn't even seen a copy until his father Brian, 73, flew out to Cambodia, where Alex is writing his second book based on a cook's tour of south east Asia.

The book describes what happens behind the scenes of Michelin-starred restaurants and lesser establishments – and the extraordinary characters who inhabit them. It begins with Alex's decision to give up his job as a journalist, and a fateful meeting with Cornwall's Rick Stein.


Story in the Maidenhead Advertiser - original story HERE...

Failed Chef's Book Tops The Charts

By Nicola Hine

A writer's account of his disastrous attempts to make it as a chef is proving to be a huge hit on Amazon's online book charts.

Journalist Alex Watts, of Lent Rise Road in Burnham, wrote Down And Out In Padstow And London as a humorous take on the years he spent training to be a professional cook.

Stints at Michelin-starred restaurants including Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck in Bray followed before, unable to keep up with the younger chefs, he gave up the dream and returned to the office.

So it was all the more ironic when his tales stormed to the top of Amazon's Kindle books professional cooking chart, where he remains within the top five.

The 41-year-old said: "I've been really pleased with the success, especially as it's self-published and I've just had to rely on word of mouth."

The book describes Alex's various experiences in the world of cooking, from 16-hour shifts in a gastropub to a failed audition for Masterchef. Anecdotes from his Fat Duck days include the painstaking process of peeling grapefruit segments.

A former Slough and Windsor Express reporter, Alex quit his job at Sky News aged 36 and trained as a chef for two years after a fateful meeting with Rick Stein.

:: Down And Out In Padstow And London is available as a paperback and eBook on Amazon CLICK HERE

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