Giles Robin Patrick Coren (born 29 July 1969) is a British journalist, food writer, and television and radio presenter. He has been a restaurant critic for The Times newspaper since 1993, and was named Food and Drink Writer of the Year at the British Press Awards in 2005. He has made several appearances on television and hosts a weekly radio programme for Times Radio.
29 July 1969
Paddington, London, United Kingdom
|Education||The Hall School, Hampstead, London|
Westminster School, London
|Alma mater||Keble College, Oxford|
|Occupation||Food critic, journalist, TV presenter and writer|
|Employer||BBC, ITV and The Times|
|Spouse(s)||Esther Walker (m. 2010)|
|Parent(s)||Alan Coren (deceased)|
Anne Coren (née Kasriel)
|Relatives||Victoria Coren Mitchell (sister)|
David Mitchell (brother-in-law)
Michael Coren (cousin)
Coren was born in Paddington, London, the only son of Anne (née Kasriel) and English humourist Alan Coren. His father had been brought up in an Orthodox Jewish household, but his own upbringing was less Orthodox. He is the elder brother of journalist Victoria Coren Mitchell.
Coren was educated at The Hall School, an independent boys' junior school in Hampstead, London, and at Westminster School, an independent boys' senior school in central London, followed by Keble College at the University of Oxford, where he took a First Class degree in English.
Coren has been a restaurant critic for The Times since 1993, and was named "Food And Drink Writer of the Year" at the 2005 British Press Awards and in 2016 was named Restaurant Writer of the Year at the Fortnum and Mason Awards. 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.
According to a paper published in Journalism Practice by Dr. Peter English and Dr. David Fleischman, Coren is "a sharp, witty columnist who can write with tongue in cheek". According to an English study the average grade in Coren's reviews in The Times was 6.86. According to Coren his average score is actually 6.3 but should be 5, however, he produces "no more than half a dozen really bad" reviews a year.
Coren has contributed articles to 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.
Coren is credited by inventor James Dyson as the co-author of his autobiography published in 1997.
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, and his second, How To Eat Out, was published in 2012.
In 2005, Coren appeared as a regular correspondent on Gordon Ramsay's The F-Word. In June 2006, he presented a programme on More4, entitled Tax the Fat, about clinical obesity and the cost it presents to the NHS. He co-presented the Channel 4 series Animal Farm with Dr Olivia Judson in March 2007. Around the same time, he appeared in a series of television commercials advertising Birds Eye frozen foods. Also in 2006, Coren presented the film and DVD review programme Movie Lounge.
With comedian Sue Perkins, Coren co-starred in a series of documentaries known as The Supersizers.... In the first, Edwardian Supersize Me (BBC Four, 2007), the two spent a week on the diet of a wealthy Edwardian (i.e. pre-WWI) couple. The second series (The Supersizers Go...) broadcast in May 2008 on BBC Two. The 2009 series, The Supersizers Eat..., covered the cuisine of the 1980s, the 1950s, 1920s, the French Revolution, Medieval culture, and ancient Rome.
In 2012, Coren presented Our Food on the BBC, travelling the country talking about various local foods. 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, a cooking competition show co-hosted by Anne-Marie Withenshaw and Chuck Hughes, produced by Jamie Oliver’s Fresh One Productions and Bristow Global Media, and broadcast on Canada's W Network and the US FYI Network. Coren followed that up with Million Dollar Critic for BBC America, which premiered on 22 January 2015 directly after Gordon Ramsay's New Kitchen Nightmares and attracted a big audience to the slot.
In 2015, Coren began a new BBC series, co-presented with social historian Polly Russell. Back in Time for Dinner, six-hour-long programmes broadcast from March 2015 Back in Time for Dinner achieved a BAFTA nomination in the 'Features' category. Back in Time for Christmas (Christmas food) and Back in Time for the Weekend (leisure activities) followed. In 2016, Coren filmed Back in Time for Brixton and Further Back in Time for Dinner and the two were released in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
In 2016, Coren fronted the one-off documentary My Failed Novel for Sky Arts. For the same channel, he co-hosted eight-part series Fake! The Great Masterpiece Challenge alongside art historian Rose Balston. In 2016, he presented 500 Questions, a four-part primetime game show on ITV. The series is taken from the US where it aired on ABC. Created by Mark Burnett, it was described as "an intense battle of brainpower that will test even the smartest of contestants".
Since July 2020, Coren has presented a weekly programme on Times Radio, on Friday afternoons.
In an article dated 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 referred to immigrant Poles as "Polacks", 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".
Coren's comments led to a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, an early day motion in the UK parliament, and a critical editorial in The Economist. 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." He also told The Jewish Chronicle: "Fuck the Poles". 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.
Professor Gábor Halmai of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency said "I completely share the criticisms" of the piece made by The Economist. He said that amid an internal debate about an FRA response, a Cypriot colleague had said "it is not even certain that what Coren stated with regard to his past had taken place at all". Halmai responded that while the generalization used by Coren was unacceptable, it was protected under freedom of expression.
Privacy injunction and alleged contempt of court
On 13 May 2011, Coren attracted 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.
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. 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." 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. In an interview with The Sunday Times on 29 May 2011, Hemming stated 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."
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. The case at the High Court of Justice 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. 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".
Fake Polish Twitter account
In December 2018, it was discovered that Giles Coren had an alternative Twitter account that "he uses to accuse people critical of him of antisemitism". The account stated to be of a Polish plumber with a bio composed in broken English and Coren's book cover as avatar.
Coren met his wife Esther Walker (dob c.1980), a journalist, author and food blogger, in c.2007. They have two children. Walker's sister is married to the presenter Alexander Armstrong.
Coren is related to the Canadian journalist Michael Coren.
- 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
- Coren, Giles. "Giles Coren reviews the Shed and Apero, London" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
- "Giles Coren: 'I could eat cholent all day, every day'". www.thejc.com. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
- Leaf, Chris (13 November 2015). "Giles Coren Moves To The Country". Esquire. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
- "A Jewish Telegraph Newspaper". www.jewishtelegraph.com. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
- "Expletive deleted - does Giles Coren just want to be loved?". Hampstead & Highgate Express (hamhigh.co.uk). 2 October 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- 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)
- 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)
- Cuozzo, Steve (8 March 2015). "Food critics are out of touch with what people really eat". New York Post.
- McLennan, Louisa (16 March 2005). "Judges toast Times Online writers". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
- "Giles Coren Tells All". Channel 4. 6 September 2007. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
- "Author: Giles Coren". Random House. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
- English, Peter, and David Fleischman. "Food for Thought in Restaurant Reviews: Lifestyle journalism or an extension of marketing in the UK and Australian newspapers." Journalism Practice 13.1 (2019): 90-104.
- "Time Out hires Giles Coren as columnist". Media Week. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- Dyson, James (1997). Against The Odds: An Autobiography. Orion Business. ISBN 0-7528-0981-4.
...I was flattered when he agreed to collaborate on this book.
- Sooke, Alistair (29 August 2005). "Fiction – Fockn' funny". New Statesman. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
- Bywater, Michael (14 October 2005). "Winkler, by Giles Coren". The Independent. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
- "Bad sex book prize for journalist". BBC News. 1 December 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
- "The longlisted passages for the Bad Sex in Fiction award". The Guardian. 28 November 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
- "What makes Coren so cross?". The Independent. 30 May 2010.
- "Our Mission - Ethical & Sustainable Restaurant Practices". Truthloveandcleancutlery.com. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
- "Animal Farm". Channel 4. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- "Interview: Giles Coren, author and restaurant critic". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. 23 May 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- Dowell, Ben (3 February 2006). "Coren to host movie show on Five". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- "Edwardian Supersize Me". BBC Two. 22 December 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- "The Supersizers Go..." BBC Two. 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
- "The Supersizers Eat..." BBC. 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
- "Our Food". bbc.co.uk. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
- "Did You Catch the Debut of Pressure Cooker?". Eater Montreal. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
- 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.
- "BBC Two - Eat to Live Forever with Giles Coren". BBC. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
- "Press Releases". Press Centre.
- White2015-11-27T10:27:00, Peter. "ITV asks 500 Questions with major format deal". Broadcast.
- "Giles Coren to Host 500 Questions on ITV". Retrieved 20 July 2016.
- Wollaston, Sam (28 March 2017). "Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby review … Giles Coren does his dirty laundry – badly". The Guardian.
- "Giles Coren on his favourite hotels - and the worst hotel in the world". Radio Times.
- Lerone, Toby (2 June 2020). "Launch date and schedule revealed for Times Radio". RadioToday. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
- Coren, Giles (26 July 2008). "Two waves of immigration, Poles apart". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2008.(subscription required)
- Conlan, Tara (8 August 2008). "Giles Coren Times article prompts Polish complaints to PCC". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2008.
- Early day motion 2529 – Press Complaints Commission and Giles Coren UK Parliament, 19 November 2008
- "Unacceptable prejudice". The Economist. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
- Coren, Giles (2 August 2008). "The winner's version of history. That's original". The Times. Retrieved 30 September 2008.(subscription required)
- Krieger, Candice (14 August 2008). "Coren launches his own assault on Poland". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012.
- Shure, Jan (5 March 2009). "Poles take Coren fight to European Court". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
- The Neighbours’ Fear. Anti-Semitism in Poland Before and After World War II. Fundamentum, English Edition, 5/2008. 82-87, Gábor Halmai
- Jim Waterson (22 May 2011). "How bizarre!". Twitter. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- "Giles Coren on Twitter (archived)". Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- Evans, Martin (23 May 2011). "Journalist could be jailed over Twitter comments about injunctions". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- Giles Coren (22 May 2011). "A funny fucking day". Twitter. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- "Bercow at centre of Giggs naming controversy". Buckingham Advertiser. Johnston Publishing. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- Sky News Giggs Named In Commons As Footballer Identified On Twitter In Context Of Injunctions YouTube, 23 May 2011
- Camilla Long (29 May 2011). "John Hemming: Try beating my 26, Giggsy". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Giles Coren named as journalist accused of breaking an injunction". The Telegraph. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- TSE & Anor v News Group Newspapers Ltd  EWHC 1308 (QB) (19 May 2011), High Court (England and Wales)
- 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.
- "Giles Coren made a fake Polish Twitter account to send antisemitic message to critics". indy100. 29 December 2018.
- ""It gives you the freedom to be violent to other people": what has the alt account become?". www.newstatesman.com. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
- "My Kentish Town: Journalist Esther Walker - 'I married Giles Coren because he had a house in north London'". Hampstead Highgate Express. 31 August 2013.
- Ellie Austin (17 March 2015). "Giles Coren on taxing the fat, being an "urban food ponce" and why life wasn't better in the 1950s". Radio Times, London. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
- "The 12 Drinks of Christmas". BBC Two. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
- "I seldom hear about her [Heather Mallick], but did when she wrote an obsessively fawning piece after the British author and journalist Alan Coren died. The reason was that the noted editor and TV personality was my cousin, and a dear man who helped me more than I can say and whom I miss very much." Opinion column by Michael Coren entitled "Canada: A rogue state?" Hardly Ottawa Sun 5 December 2013.