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Queen member's former chef opens cactus stall at Norwich Market

PUBLISHED: 15:12 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:21 12 June 2019

Tony Hall spent 30 years travelling the globe cooking for stars and royal family members, now he is sharing his other passion - cacti - with his stall 'Mr Prickly' on Norwich market. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Tony Hall spent 30 years travelling the globe cooking for stars and royal family members, now he is sharing his other passion - cacti - with his stall 'Mr Prickly' on Norwich market. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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A chef to the stars has swapped his saucepans for plant pots and opened a cactus stall at Norwich Market.

Tony Hall aka 'Mr Prickly' with one of his cacti creations from his Norwich market stall. Picture: Neil DidsburyTony Hall aka 'Mr Prickly' with one of his cacti creations from his Norwich market stall. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Tony Hall, 64, from Lakenham, has opened Mr Prickly at one of the pop-up stalls at the market and admits that he even talks to his cacti.

Mr Hall first started collecting cacti after he bought one at a car boot sale two years ago which the seller had grown and then someone gave him a cactus they didn't want which he repotted and his passion grew.

The stall also sells succulents and a range of accessories such as ceramic pots and he has also created "indoor desert gardens".

Mr Hall was born in Norwich and moved back to the city five years ago after spending 30 years working as a private chef for royalty and celebrities such as Queen's drummer Roger Taylor where he travelled around the world.

Mr Hall said: "Once you get into cacti it becomes quite obsessive and I talk to them.

"My thing is putting cacti together in different situations and pots into indoor desert gardens as it is the same principle as a chef presenting their food nicely and using different colours and textures.

"I've been going around Thetford Forest collecting old bark and moss and going to the beach to get pebbles and shells.

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"I was a private chef for years and I used to be called the rock and roll chef as I worked for Roger Taylor from Queen and travelled with him and worked on his yacht and also for royalty."

Tony Hall aka 'Mr Prickly' with a cactus from his Norwich market stall. Picture: Neil DidsburyTony Hall aka 'Mr Prickly' with a cactus from his Norwich market stall. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The new stall has had anything but a prickly reception since it opened three weeks ago and after his slot ends he plans to go to craft shows and create centrepieces for weddings.

Norwich City Council has nine pop-up stalls available until Friday June 21 as part of the Love Your Local Markets campaign.

Mr Hall added: "The pop-up stalls are such a great idea from the council to test the market and show your wares.

"House plants are becoming popular as a lot of people don't have gardens anymore and are living in apartments so it brings a bit of greenery into your room.

"I give people information on how to look after cacti as people tend to overwater them."

Mr Hall is also planning to create a dedicated home for his plants in a new conservatory that is being built at his Lakenham home.

He added: "My partner said it would be a lovely dining room but I'm thinking a cactus house."

Mr Prickly is open until Saturday, June 15 from 9.30am to 4.30pm at stall 156.

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