With their irresistible enthusiasm, Si King and Dave Myers, aka The Hairy Bikers, have become national treasures. Big hearted, down-to-earth cooks with a love of good food, they have been cooking together for more than twenty years. They have created haute cuisine dishes with Michelin-starred chefs and have travelled the world in the pursuit of great food. They've also explored the length and breadth of the British Isles to discover brand new recipes and create their own fresh takes on cooking classics. The stars of several hit television shows, they are the UK's third most popular cookery book writers after Jamie and Nigella. Their first diet book THE HAIRY DIETERS: HOW TO LOVE FOOD AND LOSE WEIGHT toppled 50 SHADES OF GREY from the top of the bestsellers charts in summer 2012 and remained in that position for six weeks. It still comfortably tops the list of the best-selling cookbooks of 2013, outselling its nearest rival by almost two-and-a-half copies to one. Their second was published on 15th August and is doing equally well.
Born and bred in Barrow-in-Furness, Dave Myers' versatile skills have taken him to some unusual places. He worked as a furnaceman in a steelworks whilst a student, to finance a degree and postgraduate studies in Fine Arts at Goldsmiths, where he studied egg tempera and the work of the Old Masters. On graduating, Dave joined the BBC as a make-up artist, specialising in prosthetics. He went on to work on numerous feature films and high-profile television series, notably LIVES AND LOVES OF A SHE DEVIL, PRIME SUSPECT and the hit BBC1 series SPOOKS. His career has taken him from Hollywood to the African deserts. He’s also travelled extensively away from work, picking up recipes and cultures almost as fast as he’s made friends all over the world, not the least of whom is Simon King, Dave’s boon travelling companion and the other half of the Hairy Biking duo.
Hailing from North East England, Si is a big, blonde-bearded biker with an infectious laugh, and a charm and sense of humour that’s a skeleton key when it comes to getting into people’s hearts and homes. This easy congeniality and warmth served him well for years in his work as a First Assistant Director and Locations Manager for film and television (including the HARRY POTTER series of films), but his passions lie elsewhere. A love of food was encouraged early by Si's family and particularly his father, who would bring back exotic ingredients from his voyages with the Royal Navy, and Si’s enthusiasm is matched by his own children’s willingness to try new kinds of food.
Si and Dave are not professional chefs so much as life-long foodies; they met through work on the set of a drama (appropriately enough on a Catherine Cookson adaptation) and they take every opportunity they can to pack their panniers and head off in search of authentic culinary and cultural experiences in all corners of the world.
For BBC2 they have made two series of THE HAIRY BIKERS’ COOKBOOK, a third series called THE HAIRY BIKERS RIDE AGAIN, a one-off special, THE HAIRY BIKERS COME HOME and the four-part series THE HAIRY BAKERS which won audiences of over four million viewers. This was rounded off with THE HAIRY BAKERS’ CHRISTMAS SPECIAL drawing audiences of around 5 million. Meanwhile Dave shocked himself by winning CELEBRITY MASTERMIND, and he and Si came a creditable second on THE WEAKEST LINK. The last few years have been busy for both, with a giant 30 part series for BBC2 called THE HAIRY BIKERS' FOOD TOUR OF BRITAIN followed by THE HAIRY BIKERS’ TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS and two major prime time series of MUMS KNOW BEST for BBC2. THE HAIRY BIKERS' COOK OFF - mixing cooking and celebrity chat - screened on BBC2 in autumn 2010 and ran every weekday afternoon for eight weeks.
MEALS ON WHEELS (4 x 60 mins) screened on BBC2 in autumn 2011 followed by the major BBC2 series BEST OF BRITISH (30 x 45 mins) which screened on BBC Daytime. The ambitious show attracted upwards of 1.7m viewers per episode, and there was an average of 5,000 hits to the website each day. BEST OF BRITISH also achieved an Appreciation Index (AI) of 92, an all-time record for a daytime BBC2 show. As a result the series was repeated in ten special hour long reversions from January 2012 and a second series screened in early 2013. Meanwhile THE HAIRY BIKERS' CHRISTMAS PARTY screened in December 2011.
From March 2012 Si and Dave were seen baking their way across Europe, North to South in THE HAIRY BIKERS' BAKEATION, an 8 x 60 minute primetime series for BBC2. They then set off for America to film another series THE HAIRY BIKERS’ MISSISSIPPI ADVENTURE, biking the length of the iconic Mississippi River for Mentorn Media and Good Food. Their 4 x 60 mins BBC2 series THE HAIRY DIETERS: HOW TO LOVE FOOD AND LOSE WEIGHT was a critical and ratings success. The boys shed more than six stone between them and the tie-in paperback book remained at the very top of the charts. Their 4 x 60 minute series EVERYDAY GOURMETS screened in early 2013 on BBC2. THE HAIRY BIKERS’ RESTORATION ROAD TRIP (3 x 60 mins) screened on BBC2 this summer followed by MEALS ON WHEELS BACK ON THE ROAD (2 x 60 mins) in which they caught up with the people who took part in the original series. The boys then went to Asia to film another major new 6 x 60 mins series, THE HAIRY BIKERS’ ASIAN ADVENTURE series to be screened on BBC2 early next year.
In 2010 the Hairy Bikers performed their sell-out BIG NIGHT OUT show in theatres across the UK. Directed by Bob Mortimer, it was a light-hearted mix of cooking and chat with some song and dance thrown in. It explores their youth, how they met and their shared love of food and travel. Back by popular demand, they completed another ambitious nationwide theatre tour in April this year.
In early July 2011 the Hairies brought out a range of chilled prepared meals across Tesco stores, followed by Booths, using some of their favourite recipes – with a twist. In November 2013 they brought out a range of low-fat cooking sauces bursting with flavour, based on recipes from their latest book. This Christmas they have a range of cookwear in Boots stories across the UK.
The Hairy Bikers have written eleven books to date, two published by Michael Joseph/Penguin, and eight best-selling titles by Weidenfeld & Nicolson / Orion Books including THE HAIRY BIKERS’ PERFECT PIES, 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, BIG BOOK OF BAKING and THE HAIRY BIKERS' GREAT CURRIES. Their second diet book THE HAIRY DIETERS: EAT FOR LIFE was published on 15th August whilst THE HAIRY BIKERS’ ASIAN ADVENTURE is released on 30th January 2014.
Dave and Si are both Members of the Food Writers' Guild. Dave lives with his wife and step-children in Barrow-in-Furness and is a past Club Champion of the Boat Club on Roa Island in Morecambe Bay. Si lives near Newcastle and has three children.