Glamorous young food entrepreneur Ching-He Huang is the face of Chinese Food Made Easy and Easy Chinese: San Francisco. Born in Taiwan to Chinese parents, Ching was raised on freshly cooked home meals for which ingredients were always bought on a daily basis. Her major food influences stem from the traditional cooking styles of her farming-community grandparents, who lived in the countryside of southern Taiwan.
Alongside their paddy fields and bamboo farms, they also cultivated an orangery, a sweet potato patch and mango trees. For Ching, weekends were a chance to eat meals and snacks which originated from age-old recipes, fresh from the soil.
At the age of five, Ching and her family immigrated to South Africa where she was exposed to an entirely different diet and climate. As the only Chinese children in their school, she and her older brother caused a stir with their packed lunches of fried rice and vegetables with dried meat powder or cucumber pickle with chili.
The biggest change was to come when she was 11 years old. Ching moved again, this time to London. From her early teens, with her parents involved in running their own businesses and her mother often abroad, Ching had to cook the family meals. She was taught the basic philosophy behind Chinese cuisine (the emphasis on balancing yin and yang through hot and cold ingredients), but then was left to improvise alone.
As a self-taught cook, the experience was to be the inspiration behind launching her own food company. A TV presence seemed inevitable and, in 2005, Ching's Kitchen aired on UKTV Food. Since then Ching has made TV appearances on ITV's Saturday Cooks and Daily Cooks, UKTV's Market Kitchen and Channel Five's Cooking the Books. Ching's first cookbook, China Modern, was published in autumn 2006, and her second, Chinese Food Made Easy, accompanies the BBC TV series.