Ainsley trained at Westminster College and embarked on a career in London’s top hotels and restaurants, starting out as a junior trainee at West End restaurant Verrey’s, where he graduated to commis chef before moving to The Strand Palace as Chef Tournant. He also started his own catering company. “It was an exciting period,” says Ainsley. “One day I’d be creating posh nosh for Elton John; the next I’d be making steak and kidney pud for Princess Margaret. I’ve worked at every level of the catering business - and I think that it’s an enormous advantage to know how to make delicious beans on toast as well as Lobster Thermidor.” With over twenty years experience working in professional kitchens, Ainsley has a very wide understanding of his craft. Hotels and restaurants include The Dorchester, Brown's, The Hilton, The Westbury, Café Pelican and Quaglino's.
In the early 1990s Ainsley worked as Head Chef of the Long Room at Lord's Cricket Ground and it was during one cricket season that BBC Radio asked him to present More Nosh, Less Dosh for BBC Radio 5. A call from BBC Pebble Mill soon followed and Ainsley moved in to become resident chef on BBC TV's Good Morning With Anne And Nick. This in turn led to Ready Steady Cook and his TV career took off.
Ainsley in Business
Ainsley's own-brand food products have gone from strength to strength and are a familiar sight not only in the UK's supermarkets, but worldwide. 2006 has seen sales reach new heights, particularly in his cous-cous and soup range. And his popularity continues to take him round the world; over the past few years he has made riotously successful appearances at live events and on major TV programmes in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and most European countries.