TV chef Antony Worrall Thompson has insisted his rivalry with Gordon Ramsay is real and not magnified by the media.

“It’s a real feud,” Antony explains. “He seems to be bitter about TV chefs, and yet what is he? He said I couldn’t cook to save my life and he wouldn’t eat in my restaurants. He called me a squashed Bee Gee, and that tongue-in-cheek banter is fine, but when you start insulting someone’s career, you’re taking it a bit far.”

He added: “The fact I chose to go for more local restaurants rather than poncy restaurants was my choice. I can do poncy food if I have to, but it’s not what I think the general public like to eat, and I see my market as very much pleasing the general public as opposed to the elite.”

Antony’s Saturday morning ITV1 show Saturday Cooks! is now in direct competition with the Beeb’s revamped Saturday Kitchen, which is presented by James Martin, one-time student of Antony’s.

“We are competitors,” the latter admits, “but hopefully we’re friendly competitors. Gordon is the only one I don’t get on with. He’s got a bee in his bonnet about me.