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Giles Coren

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Giles Coren

Giles Coren
Born (1969-07-29) 29 July 1969
Paddington, London
Residence Kentish Town, London
Nationality British
Education Westminster School
Alma mater University of Oxford
Occupation Food critic, journalist, TV presenter and writer
Employer BBC and The Times
Spouse(s) Esther Walker (2010–present)
Parent(s) Alan Coren (deceased)
Anne Coren (née Kasriel)
Relatives Victoria Coren Mitchell (sister)

Giles Coren (born 29 July 1969) is an English columnist and restaurant critic for The Times and has contributed to various publications including the Independent on Sunday, Tatler and GQ. He was named Food and Drink Writer of the Year at the British Press Awards in 2005. He has co-starred with Sue Perkins in Edwardian Supersize Me and The Supersizers Go series for the BBC. His first novel, Winkler, was published in 2005.


  • Personal life 1
  • Writing 2
    • Newspapers 2.1
    • Magazines 2.2
    • Books 2.3
  • Television 3
  • Controversies 4
    • Leaked e-mail to subeditors 4.1
    • Polish controversy 4.2
    • Portuguese controversy 4.3
    • Mediawatch complaint over Twitter posting 4.4
    • Privacy injunction and alleged contempt of court 4.5
  • Bibliography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Personal life

Coren was born in Paddington, London, the son of Anne (née Kasriel) and English humourist Alan Coren and elder brother of journalist Victoria Coren. His wife Esther Walker, a journalist and food blogger[1] is the sister of Hannah Snow who is married to Alexander Armstrong.[2] He was educated at The Hall School in Hampstead,[3] Westminster School,[4] and read English at Keble College, Oxford.[5]

Giles has two children, Kitty and Sam.[1]



Coren has been a restaurant critic for the British newspaper The Times since 1993, and was named "Food And Drink Writer of the Year"[6] at the 2005 British Press Awards.[7][8] As well as restaurant reviews, he also contributes a regular column to The Times, the subjects of which range from personal life to politics. Under the pseudonym Professor Gideon Garter he wrote The Intellectual's Guide to Fashion for The Sunday Times.[9]


Coren has contributed articles to various publications including Tatler and GQ, and he is currently editor-at-large for Esquire. In November 2014, he joined Time Out as a columnist, writing weekly on city life.[10]


Coren is credited by inventor James Dyson as the co-author of his autobiography published in 1997.[11]

In 2005, he published his first novel, Winkler, reviewed in the New Statesman[12] and The Independent.[13] One section of the novel won the Literary Review's "Bad Sex in Fiction Award".[14][15]

Coren has also written two non-fiction books – the first, Anger Management (For Beginners), a compilation of columns he had written for The Times was published in 2010,[16] and his second, How To Eat Out, was published in 2012.


In autumn 2005, Coren appeared as a regular correspondent on Gordon Ramsay's The F-Word.[8] In June 2006, he presented a programme on the digital channel More4, entitled Tax the Fat, about clinical obesity and the cost it presents to the NHS.[17] He co-presented the Channel 4 series Animal Farm with Dr Olivia Judson in March 2007.[18] Around the same time, he appeared in a series of television commercials advertising Birds Eye frozen foods.[19] Also in 2006, Coren presented the film and DVD review programme Movie Lounge.[20]

Sue Perkins and Giles Coren dressed in Victorian clothes for The Supersizers Go...

With Sue Perkins, Coren starred in Edwardian Supersize Me; the two spent a week on the diet of a wealthy Edwardian couple, for a BBC Four documentary shown in December 2007.[21] The pair were reunited for a series (The Supersizers Go...) broadcast in May 2008 on BBC Two.[22] From 15 June 2009, the pair hosted The Supersizers Eat..., which began with an episode on the cuisine of the 1980s and went on to look at the 1950s, 1920s, the French Revolution, Medieval culture, and ancient Rome.[23]

In 2012, he presented Our Food on the BBC, travelling the country talking about various local foods.[24]

In 2013, he presented Passover - Why is this night different? for BBC1 and co-presented (alongside Alexander Armstrong) 12 Drinks of Christmas for the same channel.

In 2014, Coren ventured to North America. Firstly, he filmed Pressure Cooker for Canada's W Network (since transferred to the US FYI Network) and followed that up with Million Dollar Critic for BBC America. The latter premiered on 22nd January 2015 directly after Gordon Ramsay's New Kitchen Nightmares and attracted a big audience to the slot.

In January 2015, the BBC announced two new series to be fronted by Coren: Back in Time for Dinner, the first episode being broadcast in March 2015[25] and Eating to Live Longer with Giles Coren which was shown in March 2015.[26]


Leaked e-mail to subeditors

On 23 July 2008, The Guardian‍‍ '​‍s media blog published an email from Coren to sub-editors at The Times. Coren's internal Times email used profanity, the use of which he defends,[27] to take issue with a colleague's removal of an indefinite article (an "a") from his piece, which he believed ruined the joke in his last line. Coren said a joke was lost in the change from "a nosh" to "nosh"; a word derived from Yiddish, which he doubted his editors knew better than him.[28] The Daily Telegraph said the incident was "not the first time the critic has been caught out writing abusive emails to colleagues".[29] The exchange was reprinted in the American magazine Harper's in October 2008.[30]

Polish controversy

In his next article, on 26 July 2008, Coren said his Jewish ancestors had been persecuted by Poles. He stated that Poles used to burn Jews in synagogues for entertainment at Easter; and that Poland is in denial about its role in the Holocaust. He used the racial slur "Polack" to describe immigrant Poles, arguing that "if England is not the land of milk and honey it appeared to them three or four years ago, then, frankly, they can clear off out of it".[31]

Coren's piece led to many Times letters protesting against anti-Polish sentiment and detailing the rescue of Jews by Poles during the Holocaust. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Prof. Antony Polonsky wrote: "Coren is incorrect to state that there have been no attempts to deal with the complex and painful Polish-Jewish past."[32] Polish ambassador Barbara Tuge-Erecińska wrote: "the issue of Polish–Jewish relations has been unfairly and deeply falsified."[33][34] Coren's comments led to a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission,[35] an early day motion in the UK parliament,[36] and a critical editorial in The Economist.[37]

Coren responded: "I wrote in passing that the Poles remain in denial about their responsibility for the Holocaust. How gratifying, then, to see so many letters in The Times in the subsequent days from Poles denying their responsibility for the Holocaust.".[34] He also told The Jewish Chronicle: "Fuck the Poles".[38] After the Press Complaints Commission rejected their complaint because the criticism had been of a group rather than an individual, the Federation of Poles in Great Britain lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.[39]

Portuguese controversy

Coren wrote “Portuguese cooking is the worst on earth. Or, at least, the worst of any warm nation on earth,” and followed with “Obviously, Irish cooking could give it a run. Or Polish. But in its leaden, oversalted blandness, the cuisine of Portugal is, at best, what English cooking would be if we had better weather,” Coren writes.

Aníbal Soares, president of the Portuguese branch of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, said Coren has mixed “several issues that have nothing to do with gastronomy, from various eras of his life” and ultimately shown “great ignorance and totally irresponsible research.”[40]

Mediawatch complaint over Twitter posting

On 14 January 2010, Coren attracted criticism after he posted on his Twitter feed: "Next door have bought their 12-year-old son a drum kit. For fuck's sake! Do I kill him then burn it? Or do I fuck him, then kill him then burn it?" Vivienne Pattison, director of watchdog Mediawatch UK, condemned the remark as "very bad taste".[41][42] Coren later posted: "Oh hell's bells. Look, can I just say I didn't kill the kid, or have sex with him. And anyway he's not real. And I live in Vienna."[41]

Privacy injunction and alleged contempt of court

On 13 May 2011, Coren attracted more controversy after joking about a privacy injunction by posting on his Twitter feed: "god, ANOTHER injunction tonight. another footballer. and SUCH a boring one. fucking shit midfielder... he's yet another very ugly married man who's been carrying on with a gold-digging flopsie he should have seen coming a MILE away...". Then on 14 May he tweeted "Gareth Barry looks remarkably relaxed when you consider that... first touch for gareth barry... not according to what i've heard... time for a bet. what chance Barry to score? tiny fiver on barry to score at 22–1. wdv been nice to get a double with giggs in the match before.. Barry's been pulled off...". This was later deleted but was archived.[43][44] The political blogger Paul Staines, who writes under the pen name "Guido Fawkes", commented: "It is late, you’ve had a few drinks, you tweet something you wouldn’t if you were sober", and added: "This is possibly Coren’s funniest work for ages..."[45]

On 22 May 2011, it was reported that lawyers at Schillings acting for an England footballer had persuaded the High Court judge Mr Justice Tugendhat to ask the Attorney General for England and Wales, Dominic Grieve, to consider the criminal prosecution of "a top journalist" over a matter that breached a privacy injunction.[46][47] Coren acknowledged on Twitter that he could face jail for contempt of court, saying: "A funny fucking day. The support of twitter has been almost tear-jerking. But I am afraid there won't be room for all of us in the cell. xxx."[48] On 23 May 2011, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament John Hemming spoke in the House of Commons and used parliamentary privilege to identify Coren as the person involved, leading to an immediate rebuke from Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.[49][50] In an interview with The Sunday Times on 29 May 2011, Hemming revealed that he considered naming both footballers in the Coren controversy, before the Speaker stopped him. Hemming commented that the Speaker was "probably right to do so", and added: "I couldn't be guaranteed his family didn't know, whereas Giggs' name had been chanted on the terraces."[51]

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Premier League footballer identified by Coren in the tweets was not Ryan Giggs, and was known in the privacy injunction by the pseudonym TSE.[52] The case at the High Court in London was TSE & ELP v News Group Newspapers Ltd, with TSE being described as "a married footballer" who had been involved in an extra-marital relationship with a woman known as ELP. Neither person had wished The Sun to publish the details of the relationship.[53] The injunction was granted on 13 May 2011 by Mr Justice Tugendhat, who accepted claims from the footballer that publication of the details of the relationship "would provoke the cruel chants of supporters." Tugendhat said that aspects of the case had been published on "various electronic media, including Twitter", but added: "the fact that these publications have occurred does not mean that there should be no injunction in this case".[54]


  • Coren, Giles Winkler; London: Jonathan Cape Ltd, 2005
  • Coren, Giles Anger Management for Beginners: A Self-Help Course in 70 Lessons; London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2010
  • Coren, Giles How to Eat Out: Lessons from a Life Lived Mostly in Restaurants; London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2012


  1. ^ a b Ellie Austin. "Back in Time for Dinner: Food critic Giles Coren on his new BBC2 series, fad diets, and why the government should get involved in the obesity problem - Page 2". RadioTimes. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "Giles Coren - Tatler". Tatler. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Hampstead & Highgate Express. 2 October 2008. It took the young Giles Coren a little time to really appreciate his father's exuberant style, especially as a pupil at Hall School in Hampstead. 
  4. ^ Coren, Giles (27 September 2008). "Ruth Kelly at 3 am: I know what happened". The Times. ...I was at both school (Westminster) and university (Oxford) with her (subscription required)
  5. ^ Coren, Giles (26 September 2009). "University is for sex. But I failed miserably". The Times. In three years at Oxford..." and "What I was thinking of, of course, was getting a stonking degree. And I did." and "...having, as I said, had plenty of time to work extremely hard at my English degree... (subscription required)
  6. ^ Cuozzo, Steve (8 March 2015). "Food critics are out of touch with what people really eat". New York Post. 
  7. ^ McLennan, Louisa (16 March 2005). "Judges toast Times Online writers". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2008. (subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ a b "Giles Coren Tells All". Channel 4. 6 September 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2008. 
  9. ^ Author: Giles Coren Random House
  10. ^ "Time Out hires Giles Coren as columnist". Media Week. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Dyson, James (1997). Against The Odds: An Autobiography. Orion Business.  
  12. ^ Sooke, Alistair (29 August 2005). "Fiction – Fockn' funny". New Statesman. Retrieved 30 September 2008. 
  13. ^ Bywater, Michael (14 October 2005). "Winkler, by Giles Coren". The Independent. Retrieved 30 September 2008. (subscription required)
  14. ^ "Bad sex book prize for journalist". BBC News. 1 December 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2008. 
  15. ^ "The longlisted passages for the Bad Sex in Fiction award". The Guardian. 28 November 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2008. 
  16. ^ "What makes Coren so cross?". The Independent. 30 May 2010. 
  17. ^ "Shouldn't we tax fatties?". Daily Mail. 27 May 2006. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "Animal Farm". Channel 4. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  19. ^ "Interview: Giles Coren, author and restaurant critic". The Scotsman (Johnston Publishing). 23 May 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  20. ^ Dowell, Ben (3 February 2006). "Coren to host movie show on Five". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  21. ^ "Edwardian Supersize Me". BBC Two. 22 December 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  22. ^ "The Supersizers Go...". BBC Two. 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2008. 
  23. ^ "The Supersizers Eat...". BBC. 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2009. 
  24. ^ "Our Food". 11 Apr 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  25. ^ Ellie Austin. "Back in Time for Dinner: Food critic Giles Coren on his new BBC2 series, fad diets, and why the government should get involved in the obesity problem". RadioTimes. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  26. ^ "BBC Two - Eat to Live Forever with Giles Coren". BBC. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  27. ^ Coren, Giles (1 October 2008). "Potty-mouthed and proud". The Spectator 308 (9397). p. 20. Retrieved 13 December 2008. 
  28. ^ Media Monkey (23 July 2008). "Read Giles Coren's letter to Times subs". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2008. 
  29. ^ Moore, Matthew (24 July 2008). "Restaurant reviewer Giles Coren abuses colleagues in leaked email". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 September 2008. 
  30. ^ "The joke is gone". Harper's Magazine. October 2008. Retrieved 18 November 2010. (subscription required)
  31. ^ Coren, Giles (26 July 2008). "Two waves of immigration, Poles apart". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2008. (subscription required)
  32. ^ "The complexities of Polish–Jewish relations (Letters)". The Times. 29 July 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2010. (subscription required)
  33. ^ Tuge-Erecinska, Barbara (31 July 2008). "Poland's role in the Holocaust". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2008. (subscription required)
  34. ^ a b Coren, Giles (2 August 2008). "The winner's version of history. That's original". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2008. (subscription required)
  35. ^ Conlan, Tara (8 August 2008). "Giles Coren Times article prompts Polish complaints to PCC". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2008. 
  36. ^ Early day motion 2529 – PRESS COMPLAINTS COMMISSION AND GILES COREN UK Parliament, 19 November 2008
  37. ^ "Unacceptable prejudice". The Economist. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2009. 
  38. ^ Krieger, Candice (14 August 2008). "Coren launches his own assault on Poland". The Jewish Chronicle. 
  39. ^ Shure, Jan (5 March 2009). "Poles take Coren fight to European Court". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 26 September 2010. 
  40. ^ "Times food critic under fire for panning Portuguese cuisine". Retrieved 2015-07-17. 
  41. ^ a b Prigg, Mark (13 January 2010). "Giles Coren's Twitter tirade at neighbour's boy for playing drum kit". Evening Standard (London). 
  42. ^ "Giles Coren's Twitter 'sex-death' rant about his 12-year-old neighbour and his new drum kit". Daily Mail. 14 January 2010. 
  43. ^ Jim Waterson (22 May 2011). "How bizarre!". Twitter. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  44. ^ "Giles Coren on Twitter (archived)". Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  45. ^ "Bet Giles Coren Wishes His Tweets Were Sub-Edited". Guy Fawkes' Blog. 22 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  46. ^ Verkaik, Robert (22 May 2011). "TV star is first to face jail over tweets after England footballer claims they breach injunction: Judge reports top journalist to Attorney-General". Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  47. ^ Evans, Martin (23 May 2011). "Journalist could be jailed over Twitter comments about injunctions". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  48. ^ Giles Coren (22 May 2011). "A funny fucking day". Twitter. Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  49. ^ "Bercow at centre of Giggs naming controversy". Buckingham Advertiser (Johnston Publishing). 24 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  50. ^ Sky News Giggs Named In Commons As Footballer Identified On Twitter In Context Of Injunctions YouTube, 23 May 2011
  51. ^ "Try beating my 26, Giggsy" Camilla Long, The Sunday Times, 29 May 2011
  52. ^ "Giles Coren named as journalist accused of breaking an injunction". The Telegraph. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  53. ^ TSE & Anor v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2011] EWHC 1308 (QB) (19 May), High Court (England and Wales)
  54. ^ Rayner, Gordon (23 May 2011). "Footballer granted injunction to avoid 'boos and cruel chants' at Premier League games". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 

External links

  • Giles Coren articles Times Online (subscription required)
  • Giles Coren reviews Times Online (subscription required)
  • Five Minutes With: Giles Coren Interview with BBC News, 20 December 2012.
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