The 5-minute Interview: Hardeep Singh Kohli, Writer and broadcaster

'I tried to discover myself in India through the gift of British food'
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The Independent Online

The BBC TV and radio presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli, 39, wrote, directed and starred in the Channel 4 sitcom 'Meet the Magoons'. His first book, 'Indian Takeaway', will be published later this year.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Writing my book. It's the story of my emotional journey through India, trying to discover myself through the gift of British food. I travelled south to north, introducing Indians to the delights of toad in the hole.

A phrase I use far too often...

"From the heart of the zeitgeist". My new year's resolution was to work on other parts of the zeitgeist. This month I'm focusing on its spleen.

I wish people would take more notice of...

The gap between hemlines and the top of their boots. It defines the pregnant sensuality of women and frankly some of them are getting it wrong. I'm in favour of a smaller gap – it brings greater promise of ultimate fulfilment. Oh, and corduroy. It is quite literally the fabric of kings.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

Being paralysed from the chest down when I was 14. I had a viral infection in my spinal column which started working its way towards my brain.

A common misperception of me is....

That I am good-looking, witty and intelligent – I am not that intelligent.

I am not a politician but...

I'm standing for the rectorship of Glasgow University. It would be nice to go back now I actually know who Nietzsche is.

I'm good at...

Cooking.

I'm very bad at...

Not buying shoes. You could feed a family of five in Linlithgow on what I've spent on shoes in the past year.

The ideal night out is ...

A night in. With vodka cocktails, a nice meal, some friends and laughter.

In moments of weakness I...

Go to see Mr Lee, boss of the Green Cottage restaurant in Swiss Cottage, and eat duck on rice.

You know me as a writer and broadcaster but in truer life I'd have been ...

An advocate.

The best age to be is...

Four days before your 15th birthday.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this...

Is teaching philosophy to prostitutes putting Descartes before the whores?

Cormac Bakewell

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