For Kwoklyn Wan, cooking has always been a family affair. Growing up in Leicester in the Seventies, the chef has fond memories of a childhood spent running around the city’s first Cantonese restaurant, owned by his parents, Myra and John.

“It was very much our playground growing up,” says the 48-year-old, describing days spent “literally crawling under the tables - because when you’re a kid you always want dens, don’t you?” with younger brother Gok, (pictured far right) who went on to find fame as a TV presenter.

“My brother and I, there’s only a year and a couple of months between us. We were terrible, we were more like twins and we would get ourselves into a lot of of trouble.

“There are pictures of us when we’re three or four years old and we’re in bow ties, white shirts and black trousers. My dad would literally parade us around, you know, ‘This is a family-run restaurant’.”

As they got older, the mischievous brothers, along with sister Oilen, were enlisted in the kitchen.

“Mum and dad could ring us from downstairs and say, ‘We’re really busy, you need to come downstairs and help out’, whether that was washing or peeling onions or peeling carrots, or even just tossing fried rice. And that’s how you learn the trade.”

Wan is still based in Leicester, where he lives with wife Lisa Jayne and daughters Maya-Lily, 20, and Lola-Rose, 14, which means he hasn’t been able to see Gok much during the pandemic.

“He came back a couple of times and we had socially distanced get togethers at the front of my mum and dad’s house, but I haven’t seen for several months now,” the chef says. So is he missing his little bro?

“Sometimes I miss him, sometimes I don’t. He just annoys me sometimes - I think that’s just normal!” he says, laughing.

“With your siblings, it doesn’t matter how old you get, you’ve always got that sibling thing, ‘Oh he’s just bugging me now, just go home!’”

After cutting his teeth in their parents’ restaurants, embarking on his own culinary projects and later opening a martial arts school having also practiced kung fu since he was a child, five years ago, Wan decided to focus on cooking full-time.

“I’ve concentrated on sharing my experiences and my knowledge with through books, articles, and TV,” which, he says, gives him the opportunity to be more creative in the kitchen.

“I get to play at what I know, and to be quite honest I think I’ve become a better chef in the last five years than I’ve ever been, purely because I’m really looking at dishes, really looking at flavour combinations, different textures.

“When you’re working full-time in a restaurant, I don’t think you really look at it that way. You’re just trying to knock the dishes out because you’ve got 500 orders coming through and the phones are ringing off the hook, whereas now I get time to play and experiment.”

Now on his fourth Cantonese cookbook, Chinese Takeaway In 5 features recipes that require just five main ingredients (plus a few store cupboard essentials), an approach he says is ideal for anyone who’s looking to reduce the amount of meat they eat.

“The nice thing about Chinese food is the Chinese really have learned how to bring out the best of the vegetable, so you don’t really need to supplement them with a meat substitute. You just use a nice vegetable and give it the TLC it needs to bring out the flavour.”

Usually at this time of year, Wan would be preparing to appear on This Morning to coincide with Chinese New Year. But due to the pandemic, the much-loved TV show has cut back on featured guests.

“After last year, 2020, they actually invited me on a regular basis, so I was going to go in once or twice a month to do some cooking. And then we went into lockdown.

“I spoke to the producers the other day and they said, ‘We really want you to come on still but at the moment during lockdown, unless you’re a regular chef, we’re not having any guests in’.

“That’s the thing that’s hit the hardest [about the pandemic], because obviously This Morning is a massive platform. Unfortunately I missed out on all of that last year. “

He will, however, be starring in Kwoklyn’s Chinese Takeaway Kitchen, an eight-part series coming to Amazon Prime in February.

When the pandemic is over, the father-of-two is planning to go back to Hong Kong to continue his explorations into Cantonese cuisine. But before that, he’s even more excited about holidaying closer to home with the family in tow.

“We actually bought a minibus, which we turned into a camper van - so we can just jump in the van and set up on a clifftop somewhere.

“I’m hoping lockdown doesn’t go on too long, because as soon as I’ve got this minibus kitted out, I want to start disappearing. That’s what I’m really looking forward to.”

Chinese Takeaway In 5 by Kwoklyn Wan, photography by Sam Folan, is published by Quadrille, priced £15.