With the weathermen predicting an Indian summer – after the coldest August in 30 years – it’s time to get outdoors and make the most of the sunshine before it’s too late! From Scotland to the south coast, temperatures all over the UK are set to soar, with highs of 26°F predicted north of the border and 30°F in southern England.


If you’re thinking of organising a barbecue in your garden to make the most of the unseasonably high temperatures, celebrity chef and TV presenter Ainsley Harriott has some great recipes that are easy to prepare – they’ll be sure to set your barbecue sizzling!


Harriott has a lifetime of cooking experience. His mother Peppy taught him the basic skills when he was a child growing up in Balham, London. His maternal grandfather was Clifford Strudwick, who had been a chef at the Whitehouse for American president Franklin Roosevelt, so cooking is in the family blood.


Harriott’s interest in cuisine led to him choosing it as a career, first learning to cook at Westminster College in his teens and then going on to become a trainee chef at Verry’s restaurant in the capital, where he eventually became commis chef.


However, his interest in catering was surpassed by his passion to become involved in the entertainment industry – probably as a result of his father being the Jamaican jazz pianist Chester Harriott. So, in the late 1980s, Ainsley decided on a complete career change and started a singing and comedy duo with Paul Boross. Calling themselves The Calypso Twins, they toured the UK with their live act.


Harriott’s interest in entertainment continued and in 1988 he went on to appear in the TV comedy series, Hale and Pace. He also appeared in the sci-fi comedy drama Red Dwarf in 1993, all the while continuing with his passion for cooking – working as head chef at the Lord’s cricket ground restaurant, the Long Room.


In 1997, he appeared on his own television show, Ainsley’s Barbecue Bible, which was aired on BBC2. He went in search of the best barbecue recipes and showed viewers how to successfully barbecue food – from lighting the fire to cooking tasty meals. Published in 2000, the show sparked a spin-off book of the same name containing the chef’s barbecue tips and recipes.


Video clips of the TV show are available online on the BBC Good Food channel. Detailing Harriott’s tasty recipes, such as uncle’s pork calypso and jerk chicken, the chef narrates and demonstrates how to cook the best barbecue food, with recipes from around the world.


Harriott was also the popular host of the famous daytime TV cookery programme, Ready Steady Cook, which finished in 2010. As well as having his own line of branded self-titled products – such as soups, rice dishes and risotto – he has also hosted his own television show, Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food, in which he travels around the world looking for the best international food.


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