I refused to back down unless they apologised, and consequently found myself handcuffed and heading for a cell at Battersea nick.

We emerged onto the King’s Road and celebrated at Dino’s café, eating poached eggs on toast.

I had a Michelin star by then but hadn’t considered cooking a sumptuous feast for the occasion. I came from a hard, working-class world which, since my mother’s death, had been dominated by men.

“I’m terribly sorry, your honour,” I replied, “but I didn’t bring a copy with me.” “Not your book,” she said impatiently, “our book.” She pointed towards the clerk’s office, where reprobates have to sign various court documents.

My tortured life – with its extremes and conflicts – might have been difficult for me to deal with, but the press couldn’t get enough of it. He squeezed my bicep and said: “I don’t usually eat your kind of food, but for you I ate it.” I haven’t got a clue what he’d eaten but he asked me to cook for his wedding feast when he married Jennifer Flavin at Blenheim Palace.

When the meal was finished I did have a speech to deliver: “I’ve got to get back to work.” When Alex gave birth to a daughter in September 1989, I was delighted at becoming a father, but emotionally I was all over the place. I hadn’t been encouraged to talk about the burden of grief, and because I was severely underdeveloped when it came to sharing my emotions I mustn’t have been the most communicative husband. I wasn’t good with women, but that didn’t stop me trying.

All of a sudden there I was, married to a nice middle-class girl. It was never going to last with Alex, and a couple of years after marrying we were divorced. Mine was winning three Michelin stars, and that ambition came before everything else in my life. Between wives, I went out with Nicky Barthorpe, a friend and work colleague of my former wife.

But, however progressive men today may claim to be, there can still be a common tendency to divide women into different categories based on how many past partners they've had. One of the things that I’ve noticed in my walks with men is that they’re often much more genuinely accepting of a woman’s sexuality if she owns up to it.

Women who present an image of innocence and then turn out to have several notches on their belts become objects of ridicule, but women who shrug their shoulders and casually say, “Yeah, I enjoy having sex,” without any insecurity or false bravado are greeted with respect, often times even admiration.

But when it came sex, men tended to exaggerate the number of sexual partners that they had, whereas women lowered their numbers.