Ainsley Harriott

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Ainsley Harriott

Birthplace: Balham, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Private and Private
Husband of Private
Father of Private and Private

Occupation: Celebrity Chef, Television Presenter, Entertainer, Author
Managed by: Terry Jackson (Switzer)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • Private
    • Private
    • Private
    • Private
    • Private

About Ainsley Harriott

Ainsley Harriott (born 28 February 1957) is an English chef, television presenter, and entertainer. He is known for his BBC cooking shows Can't Cook, Won't Cook and Ready Steady Cook.


Early career

Trained at Westminster College of Catering, Ainsley 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. Ainsley became head chef at Lord's Cricket Ground's Long Room. He was asked to present More Nosh, Less Dosh on BBC Radio 5,[2] and also has appeared as an extra in Hale and Pace[3] including a musical sketch for 'R.Sole Real Estate Agents' where he appeared as a sailor.

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

Ainsley Harriott at Taste of London, June 2010He then crossed over to television to become the resident chef on Good Morning with Anne and Nick and then as the main presenter of Can't Cook, Won't Cook and later Ready, Steady, Cook. These shows involved heavy participation with members of the public and were ideal for showcasing Harriott's happy-go-lucky demeanour. However he has also 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. His time in America clearly left an impression on Detroit rapper Obie Trice, who name-checked him in the song "Adrenaline Rush" on the 8 Mile Soundtrack when he rapped: "I cook up the hot shit like Ainsley Harriott".

He is a fan of the British sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf, having played the part of a GELF chief in the episode Emohawk: Polymorph II 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 also does the voice over on the television advert for Covonia cough medicine and appeared on Fairy Liquid television adverts.


Harriott is also a best-selling author, so far publishing twelve books as well as numerous others in conjunction with his TV shows. Including foreign-language translations, he has sold over 2 million books worldwide.

Other work

He also has his own range of food, including couscous, soups and cereal bars.

Ainsley was the President of the Television and Radio Industries Club (TRIC) 2004–2005 and presented their prestigious Awards Ceremony that year.

Harriott made a guest episode in the BBC radio comedy series Giles Wemmbley Hogg Goes Off as himself, in 2006.

Ainsley played the role of The Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley[4] in October 2010, and again at Richmond Theatre in November 2010.

Personal life

Ainsley Harriott is married to former costume designer Clare Fellows, the youngest sister of comedian actor Graham Fellows.[5] They have two children.


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 Harriot: 100 Meals in Minutes (ISBN 1849901503)


1.^ "About Ainsley Harriott". Retrieved 2010-11-20. 2.^ BBC Good Food: Ainsley Harriott 3.^ Hale and Pace Hale and Pace 4.^ Bromley Times: A star for B movie stage fright delight 5.^

External links Ainsley Harriott on the My KitchenTable website

Ainsley Harriott at the Internet Movie Database Fan Site

TRIC The Television and Radio Industries Club

Ainsley Harriot Recipes

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Ainsley Harriott's Timeline

February 28, 1957
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom