It’s not a name you naturally associate with food. But it soon will be. In C4’s Gok Cooks Chinese, Gok Wan will be taking an affectionate look at the food that he grew up with in the family takeaway in Leicester.
And miraculously (for the presenter best known for How To Look Good Naked) everyone manages to keep their clothes on.
The book which accompanies the new series is dedicated to Gok’s father – Poppa Wan. As a child he would feed Gok with stories of how he used to cook potatoes in makeshift ovens made of rocks and wire, hidden in the mountains that surrounded his village in Hong Kong.
“Everything in my father’s culture revolved around food” says Gok. “Happiness, sadness, forgiveness, even nicknames: I have a cousin we call Sweet Potato and my best friend goes by the name Chicken Leg. I always say that a Chink without food is like a shoe without a heel: completely pointless.”
The C4 series will delight in pulling apart a handful of classics from the street – as Gok says, “food in the hand will warm the heart”. From fragrantly spiced noodles and marinated beancurd, to hot and crunchy spring rolls, “this is food to enjoy on the move” says Gok. “Warming you down to your very soul.”
And it won’t just be Chinese streetfood – oh no. Gok also loves the hawker markets of Singapore. From the bowls of herbal soup, to fat white spring rolls, baskets of dim sum and perfectly skewered rojak, a fruit and vegetable salad served with cucumber and rice patties. Poppa Wan will be very proud.