Alan has always been passionate about food, his knowledge fuelled particularly by time spent travelling and working abroad in Europe and further afield.
After graduating in modern languages from St. Andrew’s University in 1999, he worked for Brindisa, the renowned Spanish food importers, deli and restaurateur. During this period, one of the highlights was returning to Spain, to study the art of carving Jamón Ibérico. Alan reported this experience for BBC Radio 4's The Food Programme.
Two years working in Australia followed where the abundance of markets and fresh produce was a massive influence on Alan. South East Asian ingredients started to creep into his cooking, marrying with an already established European flair to create his global signature and cooking style that would define his writing and professional projects of the future.
Once back in the UK in 2007, Alan completed the diploma at Leith's School of Food and Wine with distinction. He then spent time working in the kitchens of Chez Bruce, Pied à Terre and Providores.
After a period of soul searching, rather than move into restaurants, Alan decided to develop an idea he had several years prior. His goal was to sell pots of stews into supermarkets. And sure enough, stewed! was born. By April 2008 he was selling his first pot of premium (home-made) stew on Alexandra Palace farmers’ market in North London.
Within a year he was outsourcing production and being stocked by selected Budgens, Waitrose stores, a clutch of independents and on ocado.com.
By 2010, stewed! was available across the length and breadth of the UK, including 280 selected Sainsbury’s stores; and the range had grown to a six-strong family of premium, internationally inspired, grab-and-go stews, at the vanguard of the one-pot meal revolution and at the centre of a barrage of relentlessly positive reviews and national press coverage.
Alan was quickly recognized as a burgeoning cooking talent, with a particular specialism and understanding of the potential within the underrated technique of one-pot cooking; and was responsible for giving stew a much-deserved, contemporary make-over.
A commission from Ebury Press to write the stewed! cookbook naturally resulted, and 80 Irresistible Stews and One-Pot Wonders was published in October 2010 to rave reviews. Now, the book is on its third print run with a makeover and name change; Ultimate One Pot Dishes has been available since October 2015.
In the post stewed! era, Alan has established himself as a respected authority within his field, taking on a role as Head of Food with Picturehouse Cinemas in 2012, setting the strategy and being instrumental in the development of their food propositions; from cafés and restaurants to an overhaul of products within their cinema kiosks. Most notably, he masterminded the cafés and restaurants in the flagship Picturehouse Central which opened in June 2015. He then went on to head up the food team at Gousto, the recipe box company until October 2018.
Alan’s recipes have been regularly published by the national press, including a double page spread in The Times, who also featured him alongside seven chefs, including Blumenthal, under the banner “The UK’s top foodies”.
Alan has also been teaching his one-pot cooking courses at Leith's since 2010. Students from this extremely successful class have raved about Alan's attention to detail, patience and engagement, loving his relaxed and genuine style. Alan also runs private cookery classes.
Alan has also worked in partnership with international brands, most notably Pernod Ricard, creating a series of dishes to go alongside classic Havana Club Rum cocktails. These were filmed in the making and publicised throughout the world as part of the brand's training programme.
Alan has been used by the broadcast media for his charismatic, relaxed and knowledgeable manner, appearing, for example, as a guest judge on the Good Food Channel’s cookery show, Perfect; and holding together three hours of chat while cooking (and paying the fiddle!) on Nick Coffer’s Weekend Kitchen on BBC Three Counties.
Journalistically, he had a monthly foodie and cookery column in GT for 2 years and has written industry thought pieces for various trade magazines.