The 5-minute Interview: Ken Hom, Chef

'We need to learn to relax so the world can calm down'

Arizona-born Hom, 59, became a household name with his BBC series 'Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery' and went on to publish six best-selling books. Now an ambassador for Action against Hunger, he is in London celebrating the Chinese New Year.

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

Simply chilling out and catching up on at least two years of books that I have been dying to read. I am an infomaniac.

A common misperception of me is....

That I am only concerned about food. I have always thought food, history, culture and society are intertwined. The world is full of great richness to be explored.

I wish that people would take more notice...

Everything. We are all interconnected. Every move we make has an impact on the world and people's lives. We need to learn to relax so that the world can calm down and start to work on its real problems.

A phrase I use far too often is...

Get your act together. Perhaps I am a bit harsh. As someone who began and started with absolutely nothing, I am a great believer in getting off of one's bum and getting on with things. I cannot stand whining. My mum grew up in a rich family, lost absolutely everything and picked up the pieces and began again. Despite growing up with her own private maid, she just got on with it.

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

Getting an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes last year. Most unexpected but gladly accepted.

I'm good at...

Cooking and teaching. These are two things I love with a true passion. Nothing is more fulfilling than to share your love of cooking with others and then to share the actual food.

I'm very bad at...

Long committee meetings.

The ideal night out is ...

Being with real true friends and having a great meal, good wines and I don't have to cook. That would be bliss.

In moments of weakness I...

Get sentimental. I cave in when I should be tough.

In another life I'd have been

A ballet dancer. It was my real true calling.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

Do unto others as you would to yourself.

Alice-Azania Jarvis

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