Hardeep’s ingredients for a great night out

IPSWICH: At least there’s one Scotsman who’ll be sad that England are out of the World Cup.

We were still a nation full of hope when the Glaswegian-raised broadcaster, raconteur, writer, cook and massive Arsenal fan Hardeep Singh Kohli spoke ahead of his show in the town.

“I’m not one of those Scots that wants England to lose, I’d like them to do well,” he said. If only!

The Celebrity Masterchef runner-up is heading to town with an extended two-course version of his hit 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival show The Nearly Naked Chef, combining culinary and comedic skills in an evening of anecdotes and cuisine.

His success on the BBC show led to two series for UKTV Food, New British Kitchen and Chefs and the City. He’s the author of the Independent Book Award nominated Indian Takeaway and has written about food for Olive, Observer Food Monthly, The Spectator, The Times, The Sunday Times and other publications. “Food has been my primary passion the whole of my life really, and it’s lovely to share that with the public. It’s been present ever since I can remember, but I think doing the first series of Celebrity Masterchef really took it on to another level and it just keeps snowballing.”

What he cooks on the night depends on the audience, who are asked to e-mail ingredient suggestions to the theatre or Hardeep’s website when booking tickets. He then hits the local shops on the day.

His modest upbringing and learning to cook with his mum are key ingredients not just in the show, but obviously in what’s made him the man he is.

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“When you’re a child and an immigrant, food’s really important because it’s a link to your parents’ homeland and it was the only thing growing up in Glasgow in the 70s that you didn’t get a hard time for.”

He says that, in a sense, food talks about both sides of his heritage.

Food has opened many doors and he’s in demand as an after dinner speaker and awards host and has recently branched out into business and motivational speaking – including a new project to foster team-building through cooking.

n Hardeep Singh Kohli – The Nearly Naked Chef will be at the Ipswich Regent on Wednesday as part of Ip-art 2010.