Ken Hom, godfather of Chinese food, plans Dublin eaterie ... as Ramsay and Rhodes suffer from the munch crunch
Oriental chef supremo Ken Hom wants to open an Irish restaurant and he's not going to let the recession get in his way.
The celebrity chef, who has worked in television for over 25 years with numerous cooking shows on the BBC, has revealed the capital city is next on his list when he sets about expanding his chain of restaurants.
The popular Chinese/American icon -- who is affectionately known by many as the godfather of Chinese cooking -- is currently in Dublin for the launch of a brand new oriental culinary experience at the Merrion Hotel.
Ken has been working closely with executive chef at the hotel, Ed Cooney, all week, to create a novel menu of Chinese-inspired dishes which will be available during the promotion.
"I've been coming to Dublin for years and I'm always very excited because I feel a certain affinity with the Irish people," he told the Herald.
"I'm delighted to be doing some things that Dublin has never seen before including spicy prawns and sizzling rice and all kinds of interesting and unusual things that should go down well here.
"Irish people seem to really appreciate my brand of cooking and I'd definitely like to bring a restaurant here some day.
However, Ken might find it more difficult to lure in Ireland's foodies now that the recession has well and truely bitten.
Celebrity chefs Gary Rhodes and Gordon Ramsay have both put their names to Irish eateries which are finding times tough in the economic meltdown.
But Mr Hom isn't letting that put him off and claims Chinese is one of the easiest and cost free meals to prepare.
According to Ken: "I definitely won't be worrying about the credit crisis, in fact it's good for my business.
"I think people are really looking for good value for money these days and that's what I provide. We're not using expensive ingredients so everything on the menu is under €50," he added.
The author, presenter and chef officially launched his new venture last night and will remain in Dublin until the weekend. "I'd love to stay longer," he revealed. "But I have to leave for Chinese New Year celebrations in London. I'm going to be dining with the Chinese Prime Minister..
"On top of that I'll be looking forward to celebrating my 25th year with the BBC later this year. We're going to celebrate by publishing my 25th anniversary cook book so there's plenty to keep me busy," he added.