A typical working day for Adam Gray, Executive Chef at Royal Festival Hall’s Skylon restaurant, starts at 8am and ends at midnight. And if that doesn’t make you choke on your watercress smoothie, then consider that he is also on his feet for most of the day and is responsible for the hundreds of diners and bar-dwellers that pass through the restaurant’s door. It is a truly exhausting thought.
Yet Gray is better equipped than most to cope with such a schedule, as not only does he possess an almost preternatural work ethic, but is also one of the fittest chefs around. His exploits in fear-inducing competitions such as Tough Mudder and Vertical Rush (a race to the top of Tower 42), are supplemented by a punishing weekly fitness regime.
“I have to keep fit every day,” he explains to Great British Chefs over a coffee at his majestic South Bank location. “I train, I cycle, I swim, I do Krav Maga”.
For us mere mortals, it seems like a curious choice of hobby: why would you want to push yourself in your spare time when your job is so demanding? But chefs by nature are a disciplined and competitive bunch, and Gray seems on a one-man mission to dispel the notion that they cannot keep a healthy diet.