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Wednesday, 12 January, 2000, 17:03 GMT
Ainsley's US success recipe

Harriott's chat show is going down a storm in the US

Zany British TV chef Ainsley Harriott is cooking up a whole new fanbase in the US as the host of his own five-day-a-week show.

The star of Can't Cook Won't Cook and Ainsley's Meals in Minutes launched his new series The Ainsley Harriott Show on NBC this week and has already received rave reviews.

Can't Cook Won't Cook established Harriott as a celebrity
US TV analyst Bill Caroll said: "There's no one like him on TV today. He always seems to be having a great time, which is the kind of person you'd want to host a light-hearted morning chat show."

The shows are filmed in New York and mix celebrity chat with Harriott's inimitable flair for cookery, on a set designed as a kitchen.

But they also include segments in which he goes out and about in the city to meet and chat with colourful personalities and report on events.

The morning programme replaces the soap opera Sunset Beach in the schedule and is showing on TV stations reaching 28% of American households.

Harriott explained why he thought his show was already proving so popular: "What I do involves cooking. That's my skill. It's unlike other talk shows because cooking is a real focus.

"I may have Brad Pitt talking about his latest movie, and then I'll take a break and say, `When we come back, Brad will be with me, cooking up zucchini with smoked salmon and dill sauce'."

Harriott's flair has taken him from the kitchen to exotic locations
Harriott, 42, landed the deal after he was spotted on the BBC in 1998 by his US executive producer Merv Griffin, who was on holiday in Ireland.

Griffin said he was more than impressed with the chef's ebullient approach to cooking and TV.

"I couldn't take my eyes off him. I called the LA office and said 'You've got to find out who this guy is - America would go crazy over him'," he recalled.

Harriott's first big break as a celebrity chef came with a slot on the BBC's Radio 5 Live with his show More Nosh, Less Dosh.

His career has since gone from strength to strength. As well as Can't Cook Won't Cook and Ainsley's Meals in Minutes, his other food shows have included Ainsley's Barbecue Bible and Ainsley's Big Cook Out.

He has also hosted the primetime BBC entertainment programmes Party of a Lifetime and The Hidden Camera Show, as well as writing books to accompany his cookery shows.

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See also:
05 Oct 98 |  Entertainment
Cooking up a storm in the TV kitchen
16 Sep 99 |  Entertainment
Ainsley serves up US TV deal

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