From a young boy raised in Chicago to one of the most recognised chefs in the UK, Ken Hom has certainly followed an unusual path to get to where he is today. Beloved by the British public and highly respected amongst his peers, his friendly demeanour makes him a regular favourite on TV.
Ken’s first professional cooking job was in his uncle’s Chicago restaurant at the age of eleven. Later, when he was attending the University of California to study history of art, he started to teach Italian cooking lessons to help pay his fees. He eventually made the switch to Chinese cookery, and in 1977 began teaching at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.
It wasn’t until 1982 that Ken experienced true success. He was discovered by the BBC who were looking for someone to front a Chinese cookery series – Ken auditioned, and was an instant hit. He went on to make and star in Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery, an immensely successful TV show. The cookbook of the same name went on to sell 1.5 million copies, and is still popular today, making it one of the bestselling cookbooks the BBC ever produced.