Kwoklyn Wan

Indulge me for a moment as I share a captivating journey that has been simmering and sizzling with flavours, stories, and a dash of charisma.

From the bustling kitchens of Chinese takeaways to the rhythmic pulse of restaurant life, my upbringing was a culinary odyssey unlike any other. While my peers revelled in childhood antics on the playground, my realm was the enchanting realm of the Kitchen Storeroom. And when the doors were locked, I found my playground beneath the tables of my father’s iconic Cantonese haven.

If you could dissect my essence, you’d find “10 minute” etched within, spoken in a delightful Chinese accent—a nod to the countless times we playfully whispered it to patrons inquiring about their orders’ fate.

Picture this: Grandad’s voyage across oceans to the UK in the 1950s, a month-long sojourn by sea. His chosen destination: the heart of the midlands, Leicester, where his roots took hold. In ’62, he unveiled a revolutionary establishment, Leicester’s inaugural Chinese restaurant, a Chop Suey House with an innovative fusion of British classics peppered with bean sprouts and chop suey delights. Even the legendary Beatles graced its threshold during their 1964 Leicester performance.

The mantle of success was then passed to Dad, who carved his niche in the culinary cosmos with “The Bamboo House,” Leicester’s first Cantonese treasure trove. With two maestro chefs recruited from London, the culinary crescendo was a resounding success.

Yet, the family ethos beckoned, leading to “The Panda” on Fosse Road North in ’84. Here, the delicate dance between running a restaurant and cherishing family moments flourished. Little did I foresee that these formative years would sculpt my destiny as a culinary virtuoso. Weekends became symphonies of prawn peeling and vegetable chopping, each note igniting my fervour for gastronomic alchemy.

“It was our way of life,” Dad proclaimed, parading us around the tables, and sometimes serenading with carols (much to my chagrin now). At the tender age of sixteen, I left academia behind to craft my destiny as a full-time maestro in the Panda’s kitchen. Days swirled into evenings, adorned with the canvas of Cantonese and Szechuan delights I crafted.

Like a dragon’s ascent, the Panda soared to culinary acclaim, gracing The Good Food Guide with a luminous presence. My journey burgeoned, a kaleidoscope of magazine features, radio interviews, live events, and TV appearances that punctuated the culinary landscape.

These stories eventually found a home within the pages of “The Chinese Takeaway Cookbook Series,” a tapestry that unveils the art of recreating cherished Chinese flavours within your abode’s sanctuary. As the ink dried, a new chapter was unveiled: Kwoklyn—worldwide bestselling author, TV chef, martial arts connoisseur, and effervescent presenter.

Picture the unveiling of “Kwoklyn’s Chinese Takeaway Kitchen” on Amazon Prime, a tantalizing Series 1 that debuted in February 2021, followed by a festive “Christmas Special” in December the same year. The harmony continued as my cookbooks etched their mark, skyrocketing across the globe, caressing the zenith of Amazon’s literary pantheon.

So here’s the story—of kitchens and kung fu, of laughter and flavour, of a journey that stirred my essence into a symphony of tastes and tales. Embrace the tapestry woven from the kitchens of yore, as I invite you to savour each page, to relish in the dance of flavours that traverse cultures and continents.

Little did I know at the time but this would be the start of my career as a Chef. Every weekend and sometimes midweek I would be in the kitchen helping, washing up, peeling prawns or chopping vegetables. 
“It was our way of life” and fuelled my obsession with food! 
Dad liked that the restaurant was family ran and would often parade us around. There were even times when we sang carols at the tables to regular customers (much to my horror now). At sixteen I left school and assumed my role as a full time chef at The Panda. My days were spent preparing ingredients for the night ahead and in the evenings, I was creating amazing Cantonese and Szechuan dishes. Business was booming, we even made it into The Good Food Guide, where we stayed for several years. 
Over the years I’ve run a full time Kung Fu School, a huge Martial Arts & Fitness show at the NEC, opened a trucker’s cafe, a Taiwanese Bubble Tea store and a Hong Kong Street Food Bar, yet despite my Many Varied business activities over the years, cooking has always remained at the heart of my DNA. It’s as simple as breathing and I cannot remember a time when I couldn’t cook. I’ve feel so lucky to have been able to share my knowledge in a myriad of Magazines & Newspapers, on the Radio, at Live Events and even on TV, and now via the pages of my books The Chinese Takeaway Cookbook Series, which is The Ultimate Guide to re-creating your Favourite Chinese dishes at home. 

"Oh my. Kwoklyn Wan has smashed it with this PHENOMENAL book! Yum."

Dawn French

Thank you for reading

Kwoklyn is a worldwide bestselling author, TV chef, martial arts expert, and presenter. In 2018 Kwoklyn took to our screens on ITV’s This Morning followed by regular slots on C4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch. 
‘Kwoklyn’s Chinese Takeaway Kitchen’ Series 1, launched on Amazon Prime in the UK & USA in February 2021, followed by the hotly anticipated ‘Christmas Special’ in December 2021. 
With 6 cookbooks achieving almost instant worldwide recognition and success and holding the top of the Amazon charts since their subsequent releases.
Kwoklyn Wan © Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.