About Ken Hom

Everything you need to know about Ken Hom

Born:

3rd May, 1949
in Tuscon, Arizona; raised in Chicago, Illinois

Education:

Read History of Art at the University of California (1971-1974).

Photographed medieval monuments throughout Europe on behalf of the University of California
(1973-1974)

Studied at the University of Aix-en-Provence
(1973-1974)

Career:

Ken 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.

Ken is now regarded as the world’s leading authority in Chinese cookery and has cooked for many heads of state.

TV (all BBC):

  • Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery (1984)
  • Hot Chefs (1992)
  • Ken Hom’s Hot Wok (1996)
  • Ken Hom’s Travels with a Wok (1998)
  • Foolproof Chinese Cookery (2000)

Ken Hom Brands

  • Range of Woks & Accessories, including:
    non-stick and carbon steel woks of all sizes,
    healthy eating grill pan set,
    Ken Hom steamer,
    cleaver and vegetable knife.
  • Exciting new top of the range Sensai in September 2002
  • Classic Range of carbon steel woks and grill pan
  • TAO was launched in 2004: a high quality range of carbon steel and stainless steel woks, as well as accessories including steamer, cleaver etc.

Consultancies

  • Cathay Pacific (menu advisor for in-flight meals)
  • Food Promotions at world-wide hotels, including:
    The Peninsula, Hong Kong
    The Oriental, Bangkok
    The Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco
    The Hilton, Singapore
    The Regent, Auckland
    The Langham Hilton, London
    The QE2
    The Goodwood Park, Singapore
    Chewton Glen, Hampshire, England
    Sherwood, Tapei, Taiwan
    The Landmark, London
    The Shilla, South Korea
  • The Regent, Sydney
    Burj al Arab, Dubai
  • Le Tousserok, Mauritius
    The Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai
  • Noble House Leisure, Group Consultant Chef:
    Sri Thai City
    Sri Thai Soho
    Sri Siam City
    Gatwick Oriental
    Pacific Oriental
    Imperial City, London
    + several Yellow River Cafés

Interests:

Travel, wine, cycling, British TV, avid reader, football (Manchester United).

a) Cookery: He is a world renowned chef and 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 will create ‘exclusive’ recipes for their cooking pages if required. This is another opportunity to mention the healthy aspect of wok cooking and delicious way that Chinese eat vegetables. They do not boil their vegetables to death, but rather add sauces to enhance them – such as black bean, curry etc

b) Home: He has a beautifully restored 11th century home in S.W France, which includes a Louis XV fireplace, dynamic kitchen (as you would expect), swimming pool etc. it is erected in stone and he spent 4 years restoring it. It is a listed building and the Black Prince once stayed there. So this is of great interest to people writing about homes of celebrities.

c) Lifestyle and Health: He is very health conscious and swims almost daily. He does not drive and prefers to ride his bike. Chinese cooking has been proven by the Health Education Authority in the UK to be the healthiest way to eat. Ken was actually a spokesperson for them two years ago and collaborated on some recipes for them, demonstrating them in the UK. The reason it is so healthy is because wok cooking uses little oil and because the food is cooked at a high temperature throughout it means that all the proteins, nutrients and vitamins are kept ‘sealed’. This also means that none of the flavour is lost. There is a lot of information in the pack towards the back of the literature about wok cooking and wok selling points.

d) Interests: Ken loves red wine and has an enormous wine cellar of mainly claret wines. He loves British television, particularly comedy shows. He loves to entertain and naturally his favourite pastime is sampling different dishes in the various countries he travels to. He is a very seasoned traveller. Last year he went to Spain, Holland, Germany, Australia, Brazil, USA, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, UK, Slovenia, Belgium, Singapore, Czech Republic, Spain amongst others.

He is an avid reader, choosing thrillers mostly. He also reads all the UK heavyweight papers and the US Herald Tribune and Wall Street Journal daily. He loves most music, not Country and Western, but pop, classic and some jazz

Famous connections: 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 S W 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).

f) Woks: Ken’s woks have been the no. 1 leader in the UK ethnic cookware market for over 20 years. Woks appeal to all ages and lifestyles –

  1. Students have them in their ‘digs’ at university because it is economical – only one heat source, cooked quickly and very versatile because you can cook anything in it. Not just Chinese food. You can use it for pasta, curries, etc
  2. Pensioners – because it is healthy, low fat is good for the heart, stir frying is healthy
  3. Young marrieds – again it is an economical and modern way to cook.
  4. Single people with busy lifestyles – because it is quick, healthy and because you can experiment putting whatever ingredients you like, it is of great interest to men. Wok cooking can be fun!
  5. Vegetarians (in the UK 25% of girls between 18 and 25 are vegetarian). Many Chinese recipes use just vegetables and beancurd - as above you can make delicious vegetable dishes