Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall

With a focus on sustainable dining and animal welfare, chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s eco-friendly style of dining has helped him to become one of the UK’s best known faces


Find Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall on social media

Born in Hampstead, London, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall had a privileged upbringing with his father Robert Fearnley-Whittingstall coming from a landed gentry background and being educated at the reputable Eton College. Growing up in Gloucestershire, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall became proficient in a range of outdoor activities such as horse riding, leading him to return to living in the English countryside later in life.

Following his study of philosophy and psychology at St Peter’s College Oxford, Fearnley-Whittingstall temporarily moved to Africa where he debated entering the field of wildlife conservation which he eventually decided against. Yet his care for animals and their treatment throughout their lives would be critical to his style when entering the culinary world.

Returning to London, Fearnley-Whittingstall found himself becoming sous chef of the renowned River Cafe. However, this would not be a position that Fearnley-Whittingstall would remain in for long - the chef was fired, which he later marked down to his ‘lack of discipline’. Yet, Fearnley-Whittingstall does not see this as a mark of shame but rather an important part of his culinary career, defining the firing as ‘the best thing’ that could happen to him, giving him invaluable experience if not a full-time job.

Following his time at River Cafe, Fearnley-Whttingstall entered freelance journalism writing for a number of newspapers including The Evening Standard and The Times. By 1997, Fearnley-Whittingstall would purchase a dairy farm in West Dorset naming it ‘Riverside Cottage’ after a home he would rent on the weekends. Expanding the property to 44 acres, the chef would convince Channel 4 to produce a series of cooking shows based on his experiences at the dairy farm. This series, titled ‘Escape to River Cottage’, would ultimately become his big break, gaining a nationwide following on his experiences at the farm, leading to several more documentaries detailing his experiences as he moves from production to building a business from River Cottage Dairy Farm, producing locally sourced, ethically treated food.

The ‘Riverside Cottage’ series would prove such a success, that Fearnley-Whittingstall would continue the series for many years, showing recipes to the public. This allowed him to branch into other TV series such as ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’ where he would confront unsustainable fishing practices across the UK; This would earn Fearnley-Whittingstall a BAFTA for ‘best feature’ in 2011.

Throughout the 2010’s Fearnley-Whittingstall has continued to bring activism into his TV shows, with his 2018 show ‘Britain’s Fat Fight’ attempting to tackle the obesity crisis facing the UK.

Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's Restaurants

"Some people do get nervous about cooking for me, others just get extremely irritated by my interfering."

Latest articles about Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall

Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's Books

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has written a number of books across his career, containing sustainable recipes to make at home.


FAQs

Does Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have any Michelin Stars?
Yes, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has one Green Michelin Star to honour his sustainable practices.

How old is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall?
As of 2021, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is 56 years old.

How long has Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage been in operation?
River Cottage has been providing sustainable food since 2004.

Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall's TV Shows

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has appeared on a number of TV shows since 1995, with his most famous being his signature River Cottage series as well as appearing on several comedy shows including Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Would I Lie to You?

Hugh's Wild West
2018 - 2018

Hugh's Wild West

Britain's Fat Fight
2018 - 2018

Britain's Fat Fight

Hugh's 3 Good Things
2012 - 2012

Hugh's 3 Good Things

Hugh's Fish Fight
2011 - 2011

Hugh's Fish Fight

River Cottage Summer's Here
2009 - 2009

River Cottage Summer's Here

Hugh's Chicken Fight
2008 - 2008

Hugh's Chicken Fight

River Cottage Road Trip
2005 - 2005

River Cottage Road Trip

Beyond River Cottage
2004 - 2004

Beyond River Cottage

River Cottage Forever
2002 - 2002

River Cottage Forever

Return to River Cottage
2000 - 2000

Return to River Cottage

Escape To River Cottage
1999 - 1999

Escape To River Cottage

A Cook on The Wild Side
1995 - 1997

A Cook on The Wild Side