A lifetime in food
This event takes place in the British Library Theatre and will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person, or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.
The online version of this event will be live captioned.
Ainsley Harriott is one of our best-loved and well-known television chefs. Known to multiple generations, he is known for his fun, accessible style married with exceptional skill.In conversation with Food Season co-director Melissa Thompson he discusses his life, the challenges he faced early in his career and what makes him so joyful.
Ainsley Harriott has delighted audiences in his 25-year career in television. After training at Westminster College he worked in numerous top hotels and restaurants, including The Dorchester, The Hilton, Café Pelican and Quaglino’s, cooking for everyone from Elton John to Princess Margaret. In the early 1990s Ainsley was approached to present More Nosh, Less Dosh for BBC Radio 5. He then became resident on BBC 1’s Good Morning With Anne And Nick. He has hosted a multitude of cookery shows, notably Can’t Cook Won’t Cook, and 21 series of Ready Steady Cook, as well as Ainsley’s Barbeque Bible, Ainsley’s Meals in Minutes and Ainsley’s Big Cook Out. He has travelled the world for television shows and his cookery books – which have sold more than two million copies around the world. He has also enjoyed a career in the US, presenting the The Ainsley Harriott Show and Ready Set Cook. He also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing. In 2020 Ainsley was made an MBE in recognition of his services to broadcasting and the culinary arts.
Melissa Thompson is an award-winning food writer and cook. She has penned powerful articles on the British food industry that became focal points for important discussions around identity, diversity and inclusivity. In 2021, she won the Guild of Food Writers’ Food Writing award. Her debut cookbook, Motherland, is due out in September 2022, published by Bloomsbury. It explores the evolution of Jamaican food, from the island’s indigenous population to today. She has appeared on Saturday Kitchen and Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet, and is a columnist for BBC Good Food magazine.
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