Ainsley Harriott bigraphy, stories - British chef

Ainsley Harriott : biography

28 February 1957 -

Ainsley Harriott (born 28 June 1957) is a British celebrity cook and television presenter.

Personal life

Ainsley Harriott is married to former costume designer Clare Fellows, the youngest sister of comedian actor Graham Fellows. They have two children, Barbara and Nicola. In November 2012 the couple were reported to have separated and they remain on good terms.


Early career

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, London 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.

Television work

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 September 2008, Harriott took part in the genealogy documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?, and discovered facts about his family history.

Ainsley was guest chef on Something for the Weekend on 10 May 2009 and 21 February 2010 alongside guests JLS

In February 2010, Harriott joined the morning show GMTV with Lorraine featuring cookery recipes.

Harriott has performed voiceovers for television adverts including Covonia cough medicine, and has appeared on Fairy Liquid television adverts.


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.

Other work

Harriott was the President of the Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC) 2004–2005 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 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'.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine