Watching Ainsley Harriott cook is pure delight. He makes the otherwise tedious task great fun. He is popularly known for hosting BBC’s cooking shows Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook and Ready Steady Cook and has been a regular fixture on the British television circuit for more than two decades. Harriott is not only a chef but also a television presenter, entertainer, and best-selling author.
In the course of his career, Harriot has worked in some of London’s top restaurants and hotels, has travelled the world and has made television series for the UK, the US, and other countries.
Besides his culinary acumen and endeavours, other elements that have made Harriott a staying presence on our screens and a lingering image in our minds are his bubbly energy, facial expressions and the dirty sense of humour he often uses in his speeches.
Who is Ainsley Harriott?
Of Jamaican heritage, Ainsley Harriott was born in Paddington in the Westminster city of central London on the 28th of February 28, 1957. His father, Chester Leroy Harriott was a pianist and singer and his mother is Peppy Harriott (née Strudwick). He has two siblings – a sister, Jacqueline and a brother named Chester.
Following his training at Westminster Kingsway College, Harriott proceeded to Verrey’s restaurant in the West End where he obtained an apprenticeship and later worked as a commis chef. However, long before he started cooking up storms and tingling our taste buds with sheer pleasantness and savour, he followed shortly in his father’s footsteps as a singer. He is also talented in comedy. On the other hand, he said his mother is a great cook and may have got his career inspiration from her.
Harriott formed the music group, Calypso Twins with his schoolfriend, Paul Boross. They released a hit record, World party in the early 1990s and went on to perform regularly at the Comedy Store and Jongleurs, on TV and radio shows as well as in the United States.
He was married to former costume designer Clare Fellows. The duo had two children before separating in 2012.
Everything You Need To Know
Ainsley Harriott’s work has chronicled numerous cooking TV and radio shows. He was the head chef at the Long Room of Lord’s Cricket Ground. During that period, he also served as a presenter on BBC Radio 5 Live’ More Nosh, Less Dosh. He also appeared as an extra in the comedy television show, Hale and Pace. Later, he worked as the resident chef on BBC1′ daytime television show Good Morning with Anne and Nick before becoming the main presenter of Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook. He also appeared on the cooking game show Ready Steady Cook from 2000 to 2010.
He has presented other cooking shows including Ainsley’s Barbecue Bible, Ainsley’s Meals in Minutes, Ainsley’s Big Cook Out and Ainsley’s Gourmet Express. In 1993, he portrayed a GELF (genetically engineered lifeform) chief in the sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf.
Coming into the new millennium, Harriott debuted on US television with his eponymous show, The Ainsley Harriott Show. He then hosted the US version of Ready Steady Cook, which was named Ready… Set… Cook! He joined the morning show GMTV with Lorraine featuring cookery recipes in February 2010 and appeared in TV adverts for the washing-up liquid ‘Fairy Liquid’ from 2002 to 2007. Harriott was featured in Mary Christmas, the final My Family Christmas special in 2010.
Ainsley Harriott was the narrator on The Best Dishes Ever (2016; he also joined the cast of the reality TV series Costa Del Celebrity (2018) as one of the five celebrities to sample life on Spain’s Costa Blanca. As of 2019, he is the presenter on his new TV show, Ainsley’s Caribbean Kitchen on ITV. He markets his own range of food, including couscous, risotto, soups and cereal bars.
Ainsley Harriot is a Best-Selling Author
Harriot is a writer and has published twelve books. He has also released many others in conjunction with his TV shows including Ainsley Harriott’s Barbecue Bible (2000), Ainsley Harriott’s Gourmet Express (2002), and Ainsley’s Caribbean Kitchen (2019). He has sold more than 2 million books worldwide including foreign-language translations.
Strictly Come Dancing
In 2015, Ainsley Harriot participated in the thirteenth series of the British dance contest, Strictly Come Dancing. On the reality show, celebrities pair up with professional dancers to compete in a ballroom dancing competition.
He was paired with professional dancer, Natalie Lowe and was the fourth contestant to be voted off, finishing in twelfth position