Inside Story: Celebrity chefs

Britain's best chefs have become multi-media sensations, with their TV shows, books and even new Governement policies. Ciar Byrne and Soppie Morris sample the finest
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The Independent Online

TV Lawson claims her new ITV1 daytime show, in which she multitasks by preparing a meal and interviewing guests at the same time, is "a kind of holiday job". Some critics have suggested it is a step down from the brand of high-class "food porn" she purveyed in her Channel 4 series 'Nigella Bites' and 'Forever Summer'.
JOURNALISM Writes a fortnightly column, "At My Table", for the 'New York Times'. Founded The Spectator's restaurant column, wrote Vogue's food column for several years and has freelanced for the 'Evening Standard', 'The Observer' and 'The Daily Telegraph.
BOOKS Lawson's books have sold more than 3.5m copies world wide.
OTHER After her first husband, the journalist and broadcaster John Diamond, died in 2001, Lawson married Charles Saatchi. In 2002, she launched a range of cookware in tasteful cream and duck egg blue.

Gordon Ramsay
Full of flavour - and other words beginning with F - would any other chef have dared to tell Edwina Currie in ITV1's reality TV show 'Hell's Kitchen': "One minute you are shagging the prime minister and now you are trying to shag me from behind"?

TV Ramsay has an exclusive contract until 2007 with Channel 4, having refused to do a second series of 'Hell's Kitchen' for ITV. His television career started in 1998 with the fly on the wall documentary, "Boiling Point". Forthcoming projects include a third series of 'Kitchen Nightmares' and a new show, 'The F Word', an "entertaining food show", with food-based interviews and cooking challenges.
BOOKS He managed to hold the expletives while writing his seven books including 'Passion For Flavour', 'A Chef For All Seasons' and 'Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Heaven'.
OTHER Ramsay combines his television career with managing a chain of restaurants - he has just opened his eighth, Maze, and is opening his first restaurant in Japan this month. He admits that his hectic filming schedule leaves him little time with wife Tana, 'Grazia' magazine's food columnist, and their four children.

Ainsley Harriott
Meals-on-wheels, Ainsley Harriott serves up his TV dinners with unwavering enthusiasm and a Colgate smile. His media career started out on BBC Radio 5 in the early 1990s with 'More Nosh, Less Dosh', and he's focused on simple, speedy and affordable recipes ever since.

TV Harriott, 48, has presented 14 series of BBC2's afternoon show 'Ready Steady Cook' since 1994, a format which gave several chefs their first TV break and is a perennial favourite with penny-scraping students. His other shows include 'Ainsley's Meals in Minutes' and 'Can't Cook Won't Cook', and he "broke" America in 2000 with 'The Ainsley Harriott Show', before hosting the US version of 'Ready Steady Cook'. He's also made appearances on 'Holiday' and 'The National Lottery Live'.
JOURNALISM The 'Daily Mirror' runs one of Harriott's recipes every Saturday.
BOOKS His television series have been backed up by ten solo books, including the '2004 Olympic Cookbook', 'Barbeque Bible' and 'The Big Cook Out'.
OTHER Harriot's popularity with housewives won him the lucrative Fairy Liquid contract but the latest ad, showing him kissing an oven, was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority on the grounds it might encourage children to embrace steaming ovens at home. He's also the voice of Covonia cough mixture.

Keith Floyd
Master of the liquid lunch, Keith Floyd, 61, tried out his first recipes in the officers mess - he joined the army after watching Zulu as a youth. He later indulged his itches for both cooking and travel by styling himself television's travelling chef.

TV A chance meeting with a TV producer in Keith Floyd's Bristol bistro in 1984 led to 'Floyd on Fish', and a further 18 eponymous series, which have been sold to over 40 countries around the globe. Floyd claimed to have been blacklisted by the BBC after appearing drunk on the 'Daily Politics' show last month - he blamed the incident on a 12-hour wait in a restaurant before filming.
BOOKS Floyd has published over 22 books and has two in the pipeline on China and Thailand, where he is opening a restaurant, in Phuket, later this year.
OTHER Floyd was convicted for drink-driving earlier this year after crashing his car while three and a half times over the limit, losing a lucrative deal to advertise champagne for Tesco as a result. He was banned from driving for 32 months and fined £1,500, and has since appeared in an anti-drink driving campaign for Wiltshire police.

Gary Rhodes
A slow-burner, Rhodes proved that a steady approach to cooking could triumph over saucy Gallic charm, when his Red kitchen beat Jean Christophe-Novelli's Blues in the second series of ITV's 'Hell's Kitchen'.

TV A veteran of the small screen, Rhodes has appeared numerous television series from 'Hot Chefs' in 1988 to 'Masterchef' in the UK and the US, as well as his recent foray into reality television. His first television experience was in a ten-minute slot in 1987.
BOOKS A prolific cookery writer, Rhodes has published 15 tomes, including 'Rhodes Around Britain', 'Food With Friends' and 'New British Classics'.
OTHER Rhodes is a keen supporter of Manchester United and has a passion for cars. His restaurants include Rhodes 24 in London and the Arcadian Rhodes on the P&O Superliner.

Delia Smith
Described as the "Volvo" of British cooks by Anthony Worrall Thompson, Delia Smith baked, boiled and casseroled her way to the nation's stomach in the Seventies and has been updating her winning formula ever since.

TV 'Family Fare' launched Delia's TV career in 1973. Two years later, 'Delia Smith's Cookery Course' educated BBC viewers in the basics, followed by 'One is Fun!' In the 1990s, her series 'Delia Smith's Christmas' and her 'Summer and Winter Collection', provoked national shortages of her favourite ingredients.
JOURNALISM Delia embarked on her journalistic career in 1969 writing for the Daily Mirror's new magazine. In 1972 she began a column for the 'Evening Standard' and later wrote for the 'Radio Times' until 1986. She recently sold New Crane Publishing, set up in 1993 to publish the Sainsbury's Magazine, for £7.5m.
BOOKS Delia's 'Winter Collection' is the fastest selling book on record - selling 2,400,000 copies in six months.
OTHER Delia has been a director of Norwich City Football Club for nearly 10 years. She has also written three spiritual books.

Jamie Oliver
A healthy choice, doctors this week begged Oliver to do for hospital food what he has done for school dinners, after he persuaded the government to spend an extra £280m to improve children's lunchtime nosh.

TV Oliver introduced the nation to the term "pukka" in 'The Naked Chef'. When the BBC demanded he drop his Sainsbury's commercials, he dropped the Corporation instead and defected to Channel 4, where he has made 'Jamie's Kitchen' and 'Jamie's School Dinners' and this autumn will appear in 'Jamie's Italian Job', touring round Italy in a camper van.
ADVERTS Fellow cook Clarissa Dickson-Wright branded Oliver a " whore" for endorsing Sainsbury's farmed salmon, while refusing to serve it in his restaurant Fifteen. Oliver has just struck a deal for another year - his next ad is for Jersey Royals. His first-ever ad for lads' night prawn curry saw sales of individual ingredients soar by up to 900 per cent in six weeks.
BOOKS 'The Naked Chef' sold more than 300,000 copies in the UK.
OTHER Wife Jools was said to have been upset by media intrusions, but that did not stop her appearing in Jamie's School Dinners, or publishing a book about her life and kids.

Anthony Worrall Thompson
Real meat lover, Anthony Worrall Thompson was one of the first TV chefs to jump on the reality television bandwagon when he appeared on 'I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here' in 2003.

TV A regular on BBC2's 'Ready Steady Cook' and former 'Food & Drink' presenter, Worrall Thompson has filmed a 78-part series for the Carlton Food Network and appeared on shows including This Morning, GMTV and Richard and Judy, as well as winning The Weakest Link Chef Special.
JOURNALISM Worrall Thompson regularly reviews the papers on LBC, has presented an item on Fairtrade for 'Panorama' and writes occasional features for newspapers including the 'Daily Express'.
BOOKS Books include 'Supernosh' with wine writer Malcolm Gluck, a guide to buying and cooking real meat and a revealing autobiography, 'RAW'.
OTHER His first restaurant, Menage å Trois , which opened in 1981, was said to be the Princess Diana's favourite.He now runs Notting Grill, Kew Grill and Angel Inn in Wiltshire. After the success of 'Healthy Eating for Diabetes', Worrall Thompson is often called on to comment on health issues, but was criticised last month for accepting £5,300 to give a 45-minute speech to NHS workers about diabetes.