Born and raised in Derby to a large Italian family, Silvana Franco enjoyed home-cooked food throughout her childhood. She trained as a chef at High Peak College in Buxton and then went on to finish her studies with a degree in Home Economy at Southbank University.
Silvana got a college work placement at BBC Worldwide writing for BBC Vegetarian Good Food magazine. She soon progressed to senior writer on its sister paper, BBC Good Food, and later moved on to work as Food Editor for M&S Magazine before moving into the world of TV.
She began behind the scenes, working as a food stylist and writer on Can't Cook, Won't Cook, Ainsley's Meals in Minutes, Ainsley's Big Cook Out, Gourmet Express and Friends for Dinner. Her association with Ainsley Harriott continued in New York, where she whipped the Manhattan food team into shape for his NBC series.
However, Silvana's engaging personality soon attracted producers and she started to appear on screen, working alongside Ainsley as his sidekick in Gourmet Express 2, and featuring on BBC Two's Saturday Kitchen and Ready Steady Cook. In 2002 she moved into primetime in her own right as a presenter of The Best on BBC Two.
As well as her TV appearances, Silvana continues to write. In 1998 she worked on Can't Cook, Won't Cook Leaves Home for BBC Books, and in 2001 and 2002 she published two books - Pizza and Pasta, for Ryland Peters & Small.
She also runs a food media company called Fork with two former work colleagues. The girls wrote a weekly column for The Sun called Grill Power that gave cookery advice and recipes to an audience of three and a half million.
After a recent break following the birth of her baby son, Fabio, Silvana now appears weekly on ITV's This Morning. She also has regular spots as the guest chef on Good Food Live and continues to write and food style for various publications. Her new television series, The Hi Lo Club, and accompanying book, both launched in January 2005.