Born in Tuscon, Arizona, and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Ken Hom is now regarded as the world’s leading authority on Chinese cookery.
Ken Hom learnt to cook from the age of eleven when he started working in his uncle’s Chinese restaurant in Chicago after school and at weekends. In those days he earned around the equivalent of 30p per hour!
In order to help pay his University fees he gave cooking lessons which proved so popular that he was recommended to the Culinary Academy. Ken has taught many great chefs such as Charlie Trotter from Chicago, whose famous ‘Trotters’ restaurant is always booked months in advance.
When the BBC was looking for a Chinese chef to produce a new series he was recommended by Madhur Jaffrey who had seen him giving lessons in California. This was the start of his UK TV career with his first series ‘Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery’ in 1984. This series was then transmitted throughout the world and he has remained highly acclaimed worldwide since then.
Other programmes presented by Ken have followed including:
- Hot Chefs (1992)
- Ken Hom’s Hot Wok (1996)
- Ken Hom’s Travels with a Wok (1998)
- Foolproof Chinese Cookery (2000)
As a world renowned chef, Ken Hom is recognised by food writers all over the world, but particularly in the UK, lreland, Germany, the Baltics (Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic) Australia, USA and the Far East . He has collaborated with the world’s greatest chefs in hotels and restaurants.
Ken has cooked for all the heads of state for the EEC and Far East (including the Sultan of Brunei and the German Chancellor). The British Prime Minister and his wife, Tony and Cherie Blair have visited his home in SW France where he has cooked and entertained them. He also has cooked for the Prime Minister of New Zealand and the President of Taiwan. He cooked for the President of China at the Prime Minister’s offices in Downing Street, London and for the president of France in the Pacific Oriental (one of Ken’s restaurants).
In 2009, Ken Hom was awarded with an honorary OBE for ‘services to culinary arts’. The OBE (Order of the British Empire) recognizes his achievements and the impressive social and historical impact he has made on the way the UK has ‘adopted’ Chinese cuisine, which has now become one of the nation’s favourites.