Ching-He Huang is my full name in English translated from Mandarin Chinese but everyone calls me by my nickname, Ching. I am a cook on TV and a television presenter and setup my food and drink business when I was 21. I was born in Taiwan to Chinese parents, and I was raised on freshly-cooked home meals for which ingredients were bought on a daily basis. As a cook, my major food influences comes from the traditional cooking styles of my farming community grandparents who lived out in the countryside of southern Taiwan. With their paddy fields and bamboo farms, they also cultivated an orangery, sweet potato patch, and mango trees.
At the age of five, my family and I emigrated to South Africa and I was exposed to a wholly different diet and climate. My older brother and I were the only Chinese children at school and every lunchtime, we caused quite a curious stir with my mum's packed lunches of stir-fried rice and vegetables with dried meat powder and cucumber pickle with chilli or mustard leaves' pickle.
When I was eleven my family moved again, this time arriving in London. In my early teens, my parents were so involved in running their business and trying to setup a life for us here in the U.K., mum was frequently abroad, so I was in charge of cooking the family meals. Mum taught me the basic philosophy behind Chinese cuisine -- the emphasis on balancing yin and yang through 'hot' and 'cold' ingredients -- but I was left to improvise by myself. Soon I learnt everything from making bamboo-leaf parcels of glutinous rice to simple, nutritious stir-fried rice dishes and noodle soups.
I'm a self-taught cook and these cooking experiences became the inspiration behind launching my own food company when I graduated from university. I began producing fresh healthy food for a number of blue-chip companies in the city.
This was followed by the launch of TZU, I wanted to create a healthy soft drinks range that could accompany food but that was healthy and had a Chinese heritage, it's made from brewed sorghum vinegar fused with sparkling water and natural fruit juice, and truly refreshing served iced cold.
I was given a cookery series on the UK Food Channel at the beginning of 2005 called Ching's Kitchen after several cooking stints their show called Great Food Live and then the rest they say is history...