Few people could combine a successful career as a chef with one as a comedian but George Egg is most definitely doing that.
He has poached eggs in hotel rooms and used a wallpaper steamer to steam muscles (with white wine, of course), then written two sell-out stand up shows about the experience.
Unsurprisingly, given the showmanship in his stage shows, George was first inspired by the unconventional. When he was a teenager he went to see legendary French circus, Archaos in London. “It was just great,” he explains. “There were no animals, it was this anarchic show where they had cars cut in half - it was all a very Mad Max kind of vibe.” A stint working with the circus followed and, later, a job with a troupe that combined food with performance. Little did George know that, years later, he would return to this idea of blending cooking with performance - or, in his case, comedy.
George’s first big show centred on cooking food in hotel rooms - an idea that came from real life experience. “I’d do a weekend at a comedy festival somewhere in the UK and be in a hotel for three nights so I just started cooking in the room,” he explains. “I'd be hungry late after a show and I’d end up eating rubbish. So partly for that reason, I started cooking in the hotel room. You know, ironing a pitta bread, and using the kettle to poach things.
“It was more a bit of fun, then I filmed some of them and made some videos on YouTube and that got quite a lot of attention. I’ve been into cooking as long as I’ve been a performer and it got this really good response. So I decided to book into Brighton Fringe and just started developing recipes with hotel equipment and turned it into this show, Anarchist Cook, and it went down really well.”
A sell-out stint at renowned comedy festival the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015 indicated that George was on to something special. “I didn’t use any PR and didn’t have a producer. I didn’t even have any posters but it just kind of snowballed and after the first couple of previews it sold out the entire run. So that was nuts.” He adds, “I found the thing I wanted to do and I just love doing it. That’s why it works: it’s a real genuine passion and I think a lot of people who have seen the show have said, ‘You can just tell this is someone who is really into what they are doing and they’re excited about it’.”
He toured Anarchist Cook for a year and a half then began developing its follow up, The DIY Chef. “I started playing around and recipe developing in the back garden with blow torches, hot air guns, and wallpaper strippers." The DIY Chef was another Edinburgh sellout and, while the show is set in a shed, George expands beyond it. “I talk about the little hacks for cooking at a festival, because the stalls there are expensive, and I talk about cooking in an office as well. And it really sparks peoples' imagination - I have people come up to me after the show and say, ‘I’ve done that’. It just gets people really enthused.”
A shed offers more than a few unconventional cooking tools and George has tried most. He has his favourites too. “I think the blow torch is really cool, but they use them in kitchens so it doesn’t feel so innovative. I love the wallpaper stripper because it just looks so good. You have billows of stuff going everywhere. I use it to I poach a kipper and an egg in a little oiled ziplock bag. Then I make croutons and there is a pumpkin seed oil that goes in there and chives and a little bit of mayo - it’s a really nice dish.”
With two hugely successful shows already under his belt, George took his new show, Movable Feast to the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2019. In it, he takes his innovative cooking skills and culinary humour on the road! There are tales of planes, trains, and automobiles - with advice on how to cook with an engine and turn roadworks into an impromptu picnic.
We would expect nothing else.