Ainsley Harriott: I’ve told Ready Steady Cook’s Rylan ‘Keep it going’

Celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott has wished his successor as host of the rebooted Ready Steady Cook well for the new series.

Harriott said he sent a message to new presenter Rylan Clark-Neal telling him to “keep it going”, as the cooking programme returned to TV screens this week, a decade after it ended.

The long-time chef praised Clark-Neal’s “relaxed” presenting style, but admitted he had not had a chance to see the new version in full yet.

Speaking after being made an MBE for his services to broadcasting and culinary arts, Harriott said he told Clark-Neal: “Well done, keep up the good work.”

“I just said to Rylan ‘Keep it going’,” he said.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
Celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott is made an MBE by the Prince of Wales during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“As a presenter I like what he does, I think he engages with people. He’s very warm, he’s got a relaxed style, so I’m sure that’s going to work.”

He said the show, which sees contestants hand a random bag of ingredients to a chef to create something tasty, has a “good format”.

“It’s showing people what they can do with some basic ingredients in a short space of time,” he said.

Harriott described being recognised at Buckingham Palace on Thursday as “very special”.

Having made a career of trying to make cooking more accessible to people, he said food remains his passion.

“I think it’s kind of bringing food to people who perhaps a little bit shied away from it, (were) a little bit embarrassed about it,” he said.

“I think what I’ve tried to do over the years is to kind of open the door to say ‘It’s a meal, it’s OK, don’t panic, don’t get worked up about it’.”

The chef was intending to celebrate his royal honour by enjoying some “classic British fare” with his children at the Wolseley in London.

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