Omar Meziane remembers the first time he was allowed to stay up late, aged nine. It was for the semifinals of Italia 90. England vs West Germany, of course. “It was so exciting,” says Meziane. “And then we lost on penalties.” He dreamed of playing for England and going to the World Cup. “The only problem was that I was not very good at football.” But he still managed to live the dream by becoming England team chef and accompanying them to the World Cup in Russia. And now in lockdown he has devised Tweakd, delivering frozen meals to keep the entire nation fed and fit.
He always knew he wanted to cook. His Moroccan father and British mother met in Paris as exchange students and came back to England together to run a restaurant in High Wycombe. The young Omar spent all his spare time helping his dad. “He had me polishing the chairs and the cutlery,” he says. “But I became completely obsessed with the people behind the kitchen door. I could see them rolling ravioli and doing things with knives. I wanted to be one of them.”
He started working in kitchens the day after he left school at 16. “My parents were not overjoyed at the time,” says Meziane. “I said to them, ‘This is what I am going to do for a living.’ I knew I didn’t want to do anything else.”
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