Page 55

Angry chef v2.qxp_Layout 1 25/04/2019 17:22 Page 2

FESTIVAL | INTERVIEW

dressed up as fact. I initially created my blog in order to share my own opinions on the subject with a few friends and colleagues, but my message quickly resonated with a lot of people who were sick of being made to feel guilty about how they eat, or made to feel like they weren’t eating in an ‘acceptable’ way, or being told that what they ate was harmful, or stupid, or dangerous. I’ve always had an interest in pseudoscience and false beliefs, and why we hold them. But I’d never written anything before, and I certainly never expected what I wrote to become so popular.”

The relationship we have with food is very problematic, and often the way people are made to feel about eating makes life really difficult to navigate

Popular? Anthony’s work swiftly became the hottest dish of the day. Since instigating the blog, he’s published two hugely wellreceived books (The Truth About Fat: Why Obesity is Not that Simple, and The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating, in 2017 and 2019 respectively, by Oneworld Publications) and has been cited in The Telegraph’s hit list of the 50 most powerful people in food. “It’s great that both the blog and the books are being recognised as significant or seen as providing a challenging and perhaps important narrative that the world of food writing has generally been missing,” he says, of his success. “But I’m much more interested in how widely the message can reach, from the food pages and out into the wider public domain. The relationship we have with food is very problematic, and often the way people are made to feel about eating makes life really difficult to navigate; there are so many ubiquitous messages out

there, and we really need to be careful because vulnerable people can be seriously affected by that. “In general, we accept it all far too much, not only from obscure corners of the internet but also from mainstream culture, and the way our bodies – particularly women’s bodies – are talked about. We’re being exposed to a diet culture that makes us feel bad about ourselves; you could say I’m fighting back against that culture, using facts.” So does modern life in general make Anthony angry? “My biggest anger is caused by people who constantly hark back to a time in the past when they believe things were better, like the 1970s. I was alive in the 1970s and our diets were terrible: you couldn’t buy salad, kids stuffed their faces in sweet shops, we ate Crispy Pancakes washed down with bottles of Coca Cola for dinner. Today, supermarkets are packed with fresh fruit and vegetables, and fantastic fresh fish, and things that were never available to us even ten years ago, but suddenly current narratives such as Brexit ‘Taking Our Country Back’ or Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ are really popular. People who think that everything was better back in the day without actually looking at the evidence of what it was actually like back in the day; that’s what annoys me most.” Looking forward, Anthony’s next book will raise big questions about the future of

food. “There’s no chance that our diets will be the same in 2050 as they are today,” he says, rather ominously. “Dramatic changes must be made for a number of different reasons, largely because the way we eat now is just not sustainable for a growing world population. We talk about the impact of diet on health, but you can’t disentangle that from sustainability. The past hasn’t given us any clues as to how we’re going to feed 10 billion people on the agricultural land that we have now; we’re facing huge challenges.” Fortunately for Anthony and, presumably, his friends, family and blood pressure (although he’d probably have a lot to say about the diet-related ‘causes’ of the latter) food brings him great happiness, too. “A good day for me involves lots of time talking, thinking and writing about food, then cooking for my family or people that I want to be around. One really important thing that we forget about food, in our modern culture, is that it’s all about sharing it with people that we care about – those shared moments are when food really brings benefits to our health.” All these topics and many more will be on the agenda when Anthony visits Bath this month, bringing his good friend and colleague Dr Giles Yeo – a pioneer in studies of the cause of obesity and the author of Gene Eating, published in 2018 – along to discuss, scrutinise and, more than likely, totally debunk the latest attentiongrabbing food news. “The event will appeal to anybody who has ever been confused by a news story about diet, health, nutrition or obesity, or is ever worried by those stories,” says Anthony. “Dr Giles and I will try to present the picture as it really is, cutting through the hype, the hyperbole and the ridiculous guilt-ridden associations that people have with eating.” The Angry Chef is cooking up a pretty cool food-world storm. n Anthony Warner will be speaking at The Science of Diets talk at The Bath Festival on 25 May, 10.45am at The Assembly Rooms. £10; thebathfestival.org.uk The Angry Chef: angry-chef.com

THEBATHMAG.CO.UK

|

may 2019

|

TheBATHmagazine XXI

Profile for MC Publishing Limited

The Bath Magazine May 2019  

The Bath Magazine is Bath’s biggest monthly guide to life and living in the city of Bath

The Bath Magazine May 2019  

The Bath Magazine is Bath’s biggest monthly guide to life and living in the city of Bath