Anorak | Alex James has lashings of Gregg’s, McDonald’s and KFC

Alex James has lashings of Gregg’s, McDonald’s and KFC

by | 18th, January 2012

FORMER Blur bassists Alex James is hanging out with the common people in a Gregg’s bakers, McDonald’s and KFC. James, who lives among the likes of Jeremy Clarkson, David Cameron and Rbekah Wade in and around Chipping Norton, Oxfordshsire (McDonalds, KFC and Greggs combined outlets total: 0) is doing it for the Sun. James makes cheese. He is a “nob with a yob’s job”.

In the puff for his own “Harvest Festival” – with nobby yobby chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – we read:

“If you like food that goes ‘ping!’ when it’s ready, look away now… fine food is the alter we kneel before and the chefs below are the deities that make us sing Hosanna.”

Anyone left in any doubt that James riches and fame enable him to get way with being a berk can read on – he once wrote:“I spent a million pounds on champagne in three years. Drank two bottles every day except Wednesday and gave a couple away. It’s something like 0.1 per cent of the entire country’s champagne turnover for a year.

Now James “reveals the secrets behind the speedy specials we can’t seem to get enough of“. Highlights of James excitedly discovering people with jobs making cheap protein for the plebs to actually eat – for a meal! – are:

Stuffed In Greggs

With 1,571 shops they have more branches than McDonald’s but they’re British and based in Newcastle, so it doesn’t feel threatening…

In the age of the internet, hot food businesses are thriving, because unlike music or media you can’t get a hot pasty for free online. Yes, big business can be a bad thing, but only if it’s bad. The little bakery in my local village offers goods too sweet and sugary and is massively over-priced. I can think of much worse things than a Greggs opening up there…

The factory visit was real Willy Wonka stuff — the best food factory I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot. There were huge conveyor ovens, and seeing the dough go in at one side and come out as a loaf was like a reverse domino effect….

I iced triple chocolate cupcakes with an enormous icing bag full of chocolate cake topping and I squirted jam into doughnuts using a machine controlled by a foot pedal…

I was treated to a huge spread of all the products Greggs have to offer — from ham, leek and cheese bakes to gingerbread men. It was a party right in front of me. I’ve been to a Gordon Ramsay restaurant and had a tasting menu for upwards of £50 and it wasn’t that much fun…

Raised Arches

Next stop was a backstage visit to a McDonald’s in Leicester’s Fosse Shopping Park, one of 1,196 branches in the UK. Backstage was brilliant. There’s some fantastic gear there and in some ways it’s very similar to a Michelin-starred restaurant….

There’s a mayo gun which gives you the right serving with just one squeeze of the trigger. The bun is toasted in a mega toaster which leaves it crunchy but fluffy. They gave me a bag of the seasoning which goes on a Big Mac and I’ve been using it to flavour my home-made bread. It’s awesome and, according to McDonald’s, contains just salt and pepper.

You have just the right amount of chopped onion and just two pieces of gherkin… writing this makes me want to eat one straight away.

Officer Class

I’M backstage at a KFC in Reading. It’s hot, noisy and everything happens fast. I’m wearing rubber boots, latex gloves and an apron and I’m up to my elbows in a big tub of the Colonel’s “secret recipe”. Which is a bit of nonsense, of course. It would be easy to create something fairly similar to the “secret” flour mixture. I’d be tempted to add a bit of rosemary if I was doing it at home…

My wife Claire doesn’t like the kids eating KFC because she thinks it’s unhealthy..

A clever recipe, cutting-edge technology and good training. Plus, they put it in a nice box. Now I’ve seen how it works I’m going to try Kentucky Fried grouse at home this weekend.

Is Alex James real or a parody? Or is he just real in Chipping Norton..?


Posted: 18th, January 2012 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink