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Ainsley Harriott

Ainsley Harriott was born 28 September 1957 in England. He is a TV celebrity chef and a cookbook author.

His father was Chester Harriott, the jazz pianist from Jamaica who came to England in 1952 on a scholarship for the Royal School of Music. His mother Peppy Strudwick was a nurse from Jamaica. Her father, Clifford T Strudwick, had cooked at the White House for American President Franklin Roosevelt.

Ainsley, along with his brother and sister, grew up in Balham, south London; he still lives in the Wandsworth Common area. Peppy and Chester's marriage later broke up.

He is very tall, 6' 4" (1.9 metres), is married to a costume designer named Clare, and has two children, Jimmy and Madelaine. He is an avid chess player.

Ainsley learned to cook from his mother, and trained in cooking at Westminster College. At 16, he became a trainee in a restaurant called "Verry's" in London, where he went on to become commis chef. He then moved to become Chef Tournant at Strand Palace Hotel, and tried his hand at running a catering company. He then left the restaurant business for a bit, and toured around singing and doing comedy as part of a duo called "The Calypso Twins" (with Paul Boross.) They made one record in the early 1990s.

Chronology of work

  • 1988 -- Appeared in four episodes of a British comedy series, "Hale and Pace"
  • 1990 -- Two episodes of "Davro" comedy series
  • 1993 -- appeared in the science-fiction comedy called " Red Dwarf"
  • worked as head chef of The Long Room, the restaurant at Lord's cricket ground
  • early 1990s -- "More Nosh, Less Dosh" on BBC Radio 5
  • 1995ish -- "Good Morning With Anne And Nick", BBC
  • 1995 -- honorary degree from the University of Warwick
  • 1997 -- TV show "Ainsley's Barbecue Bible"
  • 1998 -- did "Ainsley's Meals in Minutes" and "Party of A Lifetime"
  • 1999 -- did "Ainsley’s Big Cook Out"
  • presenter of TV show "Can't Cook Won't Cook" on BBC Two
  • 2000 -- became host of "Ready Steady Cook" on TV
  • 2000 -- The Ainsley Harriot Show (America)
  • 2000 / 2001 -- Gourmet Express
  • 2002 -- became a spokesperson in the UK for Procter and Gamble's Fairy Liquid (dishwashing soap)
  • 2004 -- Off The Menu (two episodes)
  • 2005 -- BBC TV show "The 50 things to eat before you die"
  • 2010 -- continues as host of "Ready Steady Cook" on TV

Books by Ainsley Harriott

  • 1996 -- In The Kitchen
  • 1997 -- Barbecue Bible
  • 1997 -- Can’t Cook Won’t Cook
  • 1997 -- Meals In Minutes
  • 2000 -- Gourmet Express One
  • 2001 -- Gourmet Express Two
  • 2002 -- Low Fat Meals in Minutes
  • 2003 -- All New Meals in Minutes
  • 2003 -- My Favourite Hot & Spicy Recipes
  • 2003 -- Top 100 Recipes from Ready Steady Cook
  • 2004 -- Olympic Cookbook
  • 2004 -- Friends and Family Cookbook
  • 2006 -- Feel Good Cookbook
  • 2008 -- Fresh and Fabulous Meals in Minutes
  • 2009 -- Just Five Ingredients

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Fast Facts
Name: Ainsley Harriott
Gender: male
Occupation: Chef
Nationality: English
London, England

Parents: Chester Harriott; Peppy Strudwick
Spouse(s): Clare Harriott
Children: Jimmy; Madelaine

Bon mots

"The Galloping Gourmet provides an entertaining half hour, but is about as far away from the Julia Child sort of cooking as Liberace is from Horowitz."

-- Cynthia Lowry (American journalist).

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  • food day iconCollop Monday (Today)
    Collop Monday is the two days before Ash Wednesday. Slices of meat are used up, usually along with eggs for breakfast, before Lent begins Also known as Rose Monday, Shrove Monday, Merry Monday or Hall Monday.

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