Getting to Know You: Ken Hom

What do you currently do?
I don’t have one main role but nearly everything I do is connected with food and I see my main role as teaching.
I mentor chefs in my Bangkok restaurant, taking them under my wing and passing on my passion and expertise in order to create the perfect Chinese dish. I like to help people understand what Chinese food is about, the culture and the cuisine, and educate people on the range and depth of different flavour combinations. 
Recently I’ve also been working with Kerry Foods on my range of Chinese meals for Tesco. The range gives people the opportunity to try different things, I don’t expect them to like everything but this country’s pallet has become bolder so it’s good to try a range of flavours and dishes.
What is your inspiration in business?
I think my uncle, Paul Lee, was an inspirational entrepreneur. Some people say to me “you are Chinese; business must run in your blood!” I am very interested in the business side of things; I like to be involved and I always want to know what is going on and why.
Who do you admire?
From a non-business pint of view I admire Nelson Mandela.
Businesswise I admire people like Bill Gates and George Soros; they have made a lot of money and give a lot away to very good causes.
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
That’s interesting. It’s funny – there is nothing that I would do differently and I don’t have any regrets. In the end everything that happens makes you who you are.
What defines your way of doing business?
I like to be involved; I’m interested in all aspects of business. I think some people consider themselves as “an artist” and don’t want to be bothered with details; but I find it all very exciting and really enjoy the business side of my work.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Whatever you do, you must be passionate about it. If you don’t have the passion you shouldn’t be doing it. 
Some young chefs are cooking but not from the heart, they are cooking from the mind. Whether you are a dancer or in business, if you don’t have the passion you shouldn’t be doing it. Being happy in what you do is important and success is relative.