Elton John World banner

Elton John World News: A Profile of a Former Celebrity Cook

A Profile of a Former Celebrity Cook-- Posted by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thursday 25 January 2007 @ 17:10 - GMT

Yorkshire's chef to the stars has given up his lifestyle to teach area children instead.
Graham Reagan, who also had a career as a local radio journalist in between, has no regrets about the decision  and at the age of 45 has now been selected for fast tracking towards a school headship, according to the Post.
He may have one of the most unusual CVs in teaching but he is counting his blessings. He said: "I have been rather greedy but I just think I am exceptionally lucky to have done very well in two careers and now to be doing very well in the third one."
Reagan, who lives with his wife and two children in Church Street, Norton, Malton, originally left Joseph Rowntree School in York to become an apprentice chef and worked his way up the career ladder in hotels and restaurants.
He made such a name for himself that he was only 26 when he was asked to do the catering for Elton's 1986 world tour, commencing in Paris.
He recalled: "It was before I knew what a roadie was or had even been backstage at a gig. It also meant becoming self-employed, which was scary, but I had done O-level French and thought: 'I'll be all right. At least I can order a taxi in Paris.'"
This led to similar contracts with Duran Duran, Diana Ross to whom he was personal chef David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Art Garfunkel, Peggy Lee, the Electric Light Orchestra, AC/DC, Sting, and Simply Red to name but a few.
He worked flat out into his 30s, 18 hours a day, criss-crossing the globe America, Russia, Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden staying in the best hotels, and living a dream life.
Except he lost interest: "I got bored with dealing with different currencies and gas bottle regulations and staying in hotels. I thought I was getting too old for it and decided to go to college to do a degree."
In his second year he started working for BBC Radio York as a technician and freelanced as a journalist. He ended up working at BBC Radio Leeds and Cleveland before returning to York, where he was Action Desk Producer, in charge of helping the community get jobs done.
He added: "But after five years I got bored again. I had become comfortable. I was doing nine to five, and having weekends free, but it did not feel important enough."
Reagan spotted an advert for a teaching job. He was teaching evening classes and enjoyed working with adults. But getting qualified would have meant taking time off work which he could not afford to do.
Then the Briton found about the graduate teacher programme on the internet, which was a way in but involved working with under-16s. He rang the school and said he was not a qualified teacher but was keen on becoming one.
He was given a minute to make an off-the-cuff pitch to the head over the phone and landed an interview.
"I shadowed a lesson and taught a lesson. The class were all a bit wild and mad but I loved it and was offered the job," he continued.
He now teaches Food Technology at Burnholme Community College in York, is head of Year Seven, and on a fast-track programme to a headship qualification which would not necessarily get him into a headship immediately, but would make him a candidate for a vacancy.
Reagan cannot imagine any more career changes except within teaching.
He said: "In the three years I have been doing it I have never thought I am bored. I have finally found where I need to be."