Ken Hom
Ken Hom OBE with ancestry from Taishan
Taishan is a coastal county-level city in Guangdong Province, China. The city is part of the Greater Taishan Region....

, Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 is a notable Chinese American
Chinese American
Chinese Americans represent Americans of Chinese descent. Chinese Americans constitute one group of overseas Chinese and also a subgroup of East Asian Americans, which is further a subgroup of Asian Americans...

A chef is a person who cooks professionally for other people. Although over time the term has come to describe any person who cooks for a living, traditionally it refers to a highly skilled professional who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation.-Etymology:The word "chef" is borrowed ...

, author and British television-show presenter. In 2009 he was awarded by HM The Queen with an honorary OBE for ‘services to culinary arts’. The OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) recognizes his achievements and the impressive social and historical impact he has made on the way the UK has ‘adopted’ Chinese cuisine, which has now become one of the UK's favourites.

Early life

Hom was born in Tucson, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Tucson is a city in and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States. The city is located 118 miles southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2010 United States Census puts the city's population at 520,116 with a metropolitan area population at 1,020,200...

, and raised in Chicago, Illinois, by his widowed mother, after his father died when Hom was eight months old. He first learned cooking at the age of eleven when he worked in his uncle's Chinese restaurant. He went to California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 to study History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...


During this time he taught Italian cooking
Italian cuisine
Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BCE. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, Jewish and Arab cuisines...

 lessons at weekends to supplement his college fees. This led him on to teach Chinese
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

 cookery classes. In 1977 he was invited to join San Francisco's new California Culinary Academy
California Culinary Academy
The California Culinary Academy is an affiliate of Le Cordon Bleu, and is located in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1977, the academy has trained more than 15,000 people for restaurant careers through its 30-week baking and pastry chef program and 16-month culinary arts degree program...

 as an instructor.

TV career

In 1982, after a 2 year global search ,the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 auditioned him for a Chinese cookery series. The resulting TV series named Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery was a huge success and the companion book became one of the best-selling cookbooks ever published by BBC Books, selling more than 1.5 million copies. Today after numerous printing 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 latest series for KBS
Korean Broadcasting System is the biggest of four major Korean television networks.- Structure :KBS is a 'public organization' that, by law, receives public funding from the Korean Government but is independently managed. As mentioned on the Korean Constitution, the president of KBS is...

, a five hour documentary on the history of noodle, sold in 23 countries and won the prestigious Peabody award in 2010.

Business interests

Since 1986 Hom has had a base in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. 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 homeland of Thailand since 2003.

Hom is an author of more than 20 cookbooks. 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 additional, 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 travels extensively worldwide and divides his time between France and Bangkok where he supervises his restaurant Maison Chin. He continues to make occasional radio and television appearances worldwide, as well as working for a number of charities.

On 12 September 2007, Hom received an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes University, England in recognition of his "outstanding success within the international food world".

In 2010, Hom was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has been receiving proton radiation therapy in Japan. It has been successfully treated and his is now an ambassador for Prostate Cancer Charity, building awareness for early testing and treatment.


  • Ken Hom’s Chinese Cookery (1984)
  • Hot Chefs (1992)
  • Ken Hom’s Hot Wok (1996)
  • Ken Hom’s Travels with a Wok (1998)
  • Foolproof Chinese Cookery (2000)
  • Take on the Takeaway (2007)
  • Noodle Road (KBS) (2008)

External links

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