Ken Hom in 2009
May 3, 1949 |
Tucson, Arizona, United States of America
|Education||University of California, Berkeley
University of Aix-en-Provence
Ken Hom OBE (traditional Chinese: 譚榮輝; simplified Chinese: 谭荣辉; pinyin: Tán Rónghuī, born May 3, 1949) is an American-born Chinese chef, author and television-show presenter for the BBC. In 2009 he was appointed honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for "services to culinary arts".
Hom was born in Tucson, Arizona to Taishanese parents. He was raised in Chicago, Illinois, by his widowed mother, after his father died when Hom was eight months old. Hom first learned cooking at the age of eleven when he worked in his uncle's Chinese restaurant. He went to California to study History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley.
During this time he taught Italian cooking lessons at weekends to supplement his college fees. This led him on to teach Chinese cookery classes. In 1977 he was invited to join San Francisco's new California Culinary Academy as an instructor.
In 1982, after a 2 year global search, the BBC auditioned him for a Chinese cookery series. The resulting TV series Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery was a huge success and the companion book became one of the best-selling cookery books ever published by BBC Books, selling more than 1.5 million copies. Today after numerous printings it still remains in print.
He has since appeared in a number of prime time BBC TV series that have sold throughout the world. His series for KBS, a five hour documentary on the history of the noodle, sold in 23 countries and won the prestigious Peabody award in 2010. In 2012 he presented the BBC series Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure.
Since 2008, Ken Hom has been an ambassador for Action Against Hunger, a humanitarian charity which works in over 40 countries helping families to feed their children and build a sustainable life. In 2010, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had proton radiation therapy in Japan. The cancer was successfully treated and he is now an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK (formerly known as The Prostate Cancer Charity), building awareness for the early detection and treatment of cancers.
Awards and honours
Inducted in the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America as recognition of significant and lasting achievement in the culinary industry, 1990
Honorary Chairperson of The Institute for the Advancement of the Science & Art of Chinese Cuisine, 1993
Honorary Member of The 48 Group Club, 2002
Appointed Founding Patron of Oxford Gastronomica: the Centre for Food, Drink and Culture, 2007
Honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes University for outstanding success within the international food world, 2007
Grand Prize Winner Documentary - ABU Awards, 2009
Grand Prize Winner - Korea’s Producer Award for “Noodle Road”, 2009
“Noodle Road” nominated for best TV documentary of New York Film Festival, 2010
Honorary Member of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, 2010
Prestigious Peabody Award for "Noodle Road" TV documentary series for KBS, 2010
Food Broadcast of the Year Award 2013 for “Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure” with Ching He Huang Guild of Food Writers Awards
In Ken Hom’s name:
- Annual Ken Hom Lecture series at Oxford Brookes University
- Ken Hom Writer in Residence Fellowship at Oxford Brookes University
- The Ken Hom Collection at the Oxford Brookes University
- “Ken Hom’s East Meets West Cuisine” (Macmillan, 1987) Shortlisted for Andre Simon Memorial Book of Year
- “Easy Family Dishes: A Memoir with Recipes” (BBC Books, 1998) Winner of the Andre Simon Memorial Book of Year
- “The Taste of China” (Pavilion Books, 1990) Shortlisted for Andre Simon Memorial Book of Year
- “Ken Hom’s Quick Wok” (Headline Books, 2001) Cookbook of the Year from Food and Wine magazine, USA
- “Truffes” with Pierre-Jean Pébeyre (Hachette, 2001) Shortlisted for Prix Litteraire de la Gastronomie Antonin Careme
- “Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure“ (with Ching He Huang) (2012) Gourmand International Awards 2013, Paris Cookbook Fair – ‘Best in the World’ award for the Culinary Travel Category
Since 1986 Hom has had a base in Paris. In 1997 he settled permanently in south west France in a restored 13th century tower in Lot. Hom has also spent more time in his adopted home of Thailand since 2003.
Hom is an author of more than 20 cookery books. Alongside his best known work on Chinese cuisine, his works also include topics on Cambodian, Malaysian, Thai, Singaporean, and Vietnamese cooking. He has worked as a consultant for hotels and restaurants and cooked personally for presidents, celebrities and royalty.
In addition, he is also well known for the Ken Hom wok which has sold over 7 million in 62 countries throughout the world. Hom’s range of ready cooked meals has sold over 60 million units. He has also developed an array of cooking sauces, ready cooked noodles and rice. However, these are available only in the UK.
Despite semi-retirement, he continues to travel extensively worldwide and divides his time between France, Bangkok and Rio de Janeiro where he supervises his restaurant Mee at the Copacabana Palace Hotel. The Pan-Asian restaurant opened in February 2014, in time for the World Cup. He is in demand by international television and radio stations and continues to make regular appearances worldwide, as well as working for a number of charities.
- Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery (1984)
- Hot Chefs (1992)
- Ken Hom’s Hot Wok (1996)
- Ken Hom’s Travels with a Hot Wok (1998)
- Foolproof Chinese Cookery (2000)
- Take on the Takeaway (2007)
- Noodle Road (KBS) (2008)
- Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure (with Ching He Huang) (2012)
- Hom, Ken (1990). The Taste of China. Pavilion Books. ISBN 978-1-8514-5247-7.
- Hom, Ken (1997). Easy Family Recipes from a Chinese-American Childhood. Alfred a Knopf. ISBN 978-0-3945-8758-5.
- Hom, Ken (2001). Truffes. Hachette (publisher). 978-2-0123-6629-9.
- Hom, Ken (2011). My Kitchen Table - Ken Hom: 100 Quick Stir-Fry Recipes. BBC Books. ISBN 978-1-84990-147-5.
- Lee, Danny (2012-05-06). "Chef Ken Hom Cooks Up a TV Treat in Guangdong". The Nanfang. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- Burros, M (1998-06-17). "The World Beckons, and One More Chinese Chef Leaves America". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
- Anstead, Mark (2002-08-03). "How the wok ethic paid off". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2008-07-03.
- Davies, H (2006-12-03). "Hom and away". The Times. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- Frith Powell, H (2004-09-19). "French dressing". The Times. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- "Chef biogs: Ken Hom". Food. BBC. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- Fletcher, S (2001-10-14). "Desert island dish". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- Clark, A (2001-04-14). "Wok coup". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- Crace, J (2000-11-26). "My inspiration". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- Millar, S (1999-03-16). "TV chef attacks Britain's mass-produced diet and urges conversion to 'nutritious' oriental food culture". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- McCurrach, I (2007-04-08). "Tasting places: Ken Hom on the countries he savours most". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- "Ken Hom To Be Awarded With Honorary Doctorate". Food and Drink. Easier. 2007-09-07. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- Sheldrick, G (2007-09-09). "Honorary survivor". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- "Past winners of the Andre Simon Memorial Fund Awards". Andre Simon Memorial Fund. Easier. 2007-09-07. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- Nacheva, V (2001-05-17). "Woking up funds for charities". Sofia News. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
- Ken Hom on the My Kitchen Table website
- Ken Hom's Library at Oxford Brookes University contains all the books that he used throughout his career, with an emphasis on Asian cookery, including Chinese, Korean, Thai and Japanese, as well as memorabilia to do with his television shows and consulting work, including menus, invitations, photographs and artifacts.