Gok Wan chats about his mental health, parents and relationships

Gok Wan talks fashion, his cookery roots, relationships and being star struck

gok wan

by Stephanie Anthony |

Gok Wan is an author and presenter best known for his fashion know-how, presenting TV programmes such as ‘How to Look Good Naked’, ‘Gok’s Fashion Fix’ and ‘Gok’s clothes roadshow’.

Read more: Susanna Reid’s most stunning dresses on Good Morning Britain

But as well as an eye for style, Gok also has a talent for cooking from working in his family’s Chinese restaurant. In 2012 he presented a series called ‘Gok Cooks Chinese’ on Channel 4 and released a cookbook of the same title– as well as a new Asian cookery show on TV.

Gok Wan's parents

"My mum Myra is English and my dad John is Chinese and when I was growing up, I used to work in their restaurant The Bamboo Tree. The Asian cooking skills that my dad gave me are one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. It is only when I get in front of a camera and I start talking about food that I realise how important that was.

"I was cooking for my neighbours in lockdown, a bowl of noodles, a batch of cookies here or a banana bread there, as a way of communicating. I loved knowing they were eating it in their space and we were all sharing the same experience.

"My family are one of my core ingredients. When it comes down to it, family is all that matters. Lockdown has also shown me how much I need my family around me, their energy; they give me the breath in my body.

"It takes me two and half hours to drive from London to their home but if I get to see my mum for 10 minutes, then it is worth it. They all mean the world to me."

How to Look Good Naked changed my life

"In 2006 the TV show How To Look Good Naked changed my life. The series thrust me into the limelight after working with celebrities as a fashion stylist. It made me look at my craft and skill and I had to suddenly learn how to present and talk on camera.

"I believe that being an overweight teenager also helped me to do the show and it made me into the person I am today.

"I have lived on both sides of the spectrum; I have been morbidly obese, I have been anorexically thin and suffered from anxiety. So when a person turns around and says: 'I don’t feel good enough or unattractive,' I absolutely go back to that place and it makes me compassionate and empathetic.

"I have spoken very honestly in the past about my mental health, anorexia and anxiety. I am on the same journey as everyone else. I am not saying it is easy and that I wake up with everything fixed though. I still need to work hard at everything.

"Being bright and positive helps my health. Work is my biggest addiction. I have always been very thankful that I love what I do. But I also enjoy relaxing at home with my French bulldog Dolly and my friends.

"My work ethic sometimes means it can make it hard to turn work down! I can turn my hand to quite a lot of things and make a success out of them – because I am determined and I am focused."

Is Gok Wan married?

"Although I am single, I never pine to be in a relationship but I do pine to be with my friends. I put as much into my friendships as I do my work. I am very strict about that and I never take them for granted. In return, I value loyalty and honesty most.

"I have a weird relationship with age and I am similar to my dad as neither of us fear death. We live in the moment and embrace everything that is happening. I am doing all the stuff I love doing right now. Now I am 46 I have become a realist. I have started to realise that I won’t do some things. For instance, I always thought I would train and get a second skill, but I don’t think I am going to do that now because that would mean sacrificing some of my relationships whether that is work, friends or family. I am not willing to make the sacrifice because they are too important to me."

Famous faces

"Without question my biggest success is my friendships. One of my closest friends is actor David Ames (Dr Dominic Copeland in Holby City). When he comes to my house, we sit and watch the comedy show The Golden Girls together. I can’t think of anything I like to do more than sit and watch him laugh. It is one of my favourite things in the world.

"I genuinely don’t see myself as famous. In fact, when I go to a party and a famous person is there, I always feel a little awkward and think: ‘What am I doing here?’ Alan Carr is a great friend and one of the few times I have felt starstruck was when I went round to his a few years ago. He was just finishing a phone call and told me to go into the front room. Adele was sitting there watching telly. It’s rare that I’m tongue tied but I was then!"

How old is Gok Wan?

Gok was born on 9 September 1974, currently making him 47 years old.

Gok Wan recipes

The fashion guru has regularly appeared on This Morning to show viewers, and the presenters, how to make his delicious Asian-inspired dishes.

You can find all of Gok's cook-a-long recipes from the show here, which includes shredded chicken chow mein, giant king prawn sweet and sour salad, as well as a Cornish pasty with an Asian twist.

Gok Cooks Chinese

Gok Cooks Chinese

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Gok's book is packed with 80 simple, healthy, delicious recipes so you can sit down and tuck into flavoursome fuss-free food.

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