Ainsley Harriott is a British celebrity cook and television presenter, best known for presenting Ready Steady Cook.
Trained at Westminster College of Catering, Harriott obtained an apprenticeship at Verrey's restaurant in the West End and later worked as a commis (trainee) chef. The son of pianist Chester Harriott, whose cousin was free jazz alto saxophonist Joe Harriott, his talents also lay in comedy and singing as well as cooking and Harriott formed the Calypso Twins with schoolfriend Paul Boross, releasing a hit record in the early 1990s, "World Party". The Calypso Twins went on to be regular performers at the Comedy Store and Jongleurs; they also performed in America and on TV and radio shows. Harriott became head chef at Lord's Cricket Ground's Long Room. He was asked to present More Nosh, Less Dosh on BBC Radio 5, and also has appeared as an extra in Hale and Pace.
Harriott has worked as a chef in London hotels and restaurants including the Dorchester, Brown's, the Hilton, the Westbury, Café Pelican and Quaglino's.
Harriott became the resident chef on Good Morning with Anne and Nick and later the main presenter of Can't Cook, Won't Cook and Ready, Steady, Cook, both shows involving members of the public. He has presented more straightforward how-to-cook programmes such as Ainsley's Barbecue Bible, Ainsley's Meals in Minutes, Ainsley's Big Cook Out and Ainsley's Gourmet Express.
In 2000, Harriott made his debut on US television with The Ainsley Harriott Show, syndicated by Buena Vista Television, which ran for more than 100 episodes. Following this he went on to host Ready.. Set... Cook!, the US version of Ready Steady Cook.
Harriott played the part of a GELF chief in the sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf in 1993. In 1998, for the show's 10th anniversary, Harriott presented a special edition of Can't Cook, Won't Cook called Can't Smeg, Won't Smeg with the cast of the show cooking a meal while remaining in character.
In February 2010, Harriott joined the morning show GMTV with Lorraine featuring cookery recipes.
Ainsley Harriott also appeared in the final My Family Christmas special in 2010 "Mary Christmas".
Who Do You Think You Are?
In September 2008, Harriott took part in the genealogy documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?. Harriott knew that his great-grandfather Ebenezer Harriott was in the colonial West India Regiment, and had assumed that they were descended from slaves. In Barbados, he confirmed that his great-grandfather had a distinguished military career, and learnt that he had fought for the British Empire in the Sierra Leone Hut Tax War of 1898 – an increasingly violent protest against British tax collecting in the protectorate.
Although Harriott had assumed that his great-great-grandfather, James Gordon Harriott, was a black slave, he was revealed to be the descendant of a long line of white slave owners. James Harriott was found on the 1825 register, owning eight slaves. The registers had revealed that James Gordon's father was George David Harriott. A deed of sale showed that George Harriott purchased slaves from his own father when he was just four years old. The Harriott family were from Jamaica.
Harriott is a best-selling author, publishing twelve books as well as numerous others in conjunction with his television shows. Including foreign-language translations, he has sold over 2 million books worldwide.
Harriott was the President of the Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC) 2004–05 and presented their awards ceremony that year. He markets his own range of food, including couscous, risotto, soups and cereal bars.
Harriott played the role of the Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show at the New Theatre, Cardiff in March 2010, at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley in October 2010, and again at the Richmond Theatre in November 2010.
He made a guest appearance in the BBC radio comedy series Giles Wemmbley Hogg Goes Off as himself, in 2006.
Harriott featured in a 'Celebrity Come Dine With Me', alongside Steve McManaman, Anne Robinson, Lembit Opik and Lee Ryan. When presented with his 'Turkey Drummers', Ainsley exclaimed; 'These drummers are good'.
Ainsley Harriott married former costume designer Clare Fellows, the youngest sister of comedian actor Graham Fellows. They have two children. In November 2012 the couple were reported to have separated and they remain on good terms.
- 1999 Ainsley Harriott's Meals In Minutes (ISBN 0-563-55166-6)
- 2000 Ainsley Harriott's Barbecue Bible (ISBN 0-563-55181-X)
- 2002 Ainsley Harriott's Low-fat Meals In Minutes (ISBN 0-563-53480-X)
- 2002 Ainsley Harriott's Gourmet Express (ISBN 0-563-48826-3)
- 2003 Ainsley Harriott's All New Meals In Minutes (ISBN 0-563-48750-X)
- 2003 Ainsley Harriott's Gourmet Express 2 (ISBN 0-563-48860-3)
- 2003 The Top 100 Recipes from Ready Steady Cook (ISBN 0-563-48729-1)
- 2004 Ainsley Harriott's Friends and Family Cookbook (ISBN 0-563-48756-9)
- 2005 Ainsley's Ultimate Barbecue Bible (ISBN 0-563-52217-8)
- 2006 Ainsley Harriott's All New Meals In Minutes (ISBN 0-563-49321-6)
- 2006 Ainsley Harriott's Feel Good Cookbook (ISBN 0-563-49352-6)
- 2008 Ainsley Harriott's Fresh and Fabulous Meals in Minutes (ISBN 1-84607-444-4)
- 2011 My Kitchen Table – Ainsley Harriott: 100 Meals in Minutes (ISBN 1849901503)
- BBC Good Food: Ainsley Harriott bbcgoodfood.com
- Ainsley Harriott – IMDb
- Bromley Times: A star for B movie stage fright delight bromleytimes.co.uk
|Host of Ready Steady Cook
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