Ken Hom

Ken Hom

Ken Hom in 2014
Born (1949-05-03) May 3, 1949
Tucson, Arizona, United States of America
Education University of California, Berkeley
University of Aix-en-Provence

Culinary career

Cooking style Chinese

Ken Hom OBE (traditional Chinese: 譚榮輝; simplified Chinese: 谭荣辉; pinyin: Tán Rónghuī, born May 3, 1949) is an American 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".

Early life

Hom was born in Tucson, Arizona, to Taishanese parents.[1] He was raised in Chicago, Illinois, by his widowed mother, after his father died when Hom was eight months old.[2] Hom first learned cooking at the age of eleven when he worked in his uncle's Chinese restaurant.[3] 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.

TV career

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 co-presented the BBC series Exploring China: A Culinary Adventure with Ching He Huang.


Since 2008, 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

Awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire OBE by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the culinary arts, 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:

Book awards:

Business interests

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 Michelin starred 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.




  1. Lee, Danny (2012-05-06). "Chef Ken Hom Cooks Up a TV Treat in Guangdong". The Nanfang. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
  2. Burros, M (1998-06-17). "The World Beckons, and One More Chinese Chef Leaves America". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
  3. Anstead, Mark (2002-08-03). "How the wok ethic paid off". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2008-07-03.
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