The Doyenne of Family Cookery
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Mary Berry CBE is the doyenne of family cookery, specialising in Aga cookery and cakes and desserts. Her television career has spanned more than six decades, and she has written over 80 best-selling cookery books, with many more still to come.
From an early age Mary knew she wanted to pursue a career in food, and at 18 she trained at the Bath College of Home Economics, followed by Paris Le Cordon Bleu. In the 1960’s Mary became Cookery Editor of Housewife and later Ideal Home Magazine and was a member of the Council of Food from Britain.
In 1966 Mary published her first cookery book, ‘The Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook’. Her books have since sold over five million copies around the world. In addition to cookery books, Mary has also written her autobiography, ‘Recipe For Life’, published in 2013 by Michael Joseph. ‘Mary Berry Cooks’ was published by BBC Books in February 2014 and went straight to number 1 in the hardback non-fiction chart, remaining there for an incredible 11 weeks, and also reaching number 1 in the top 50 books across all UK sales by its 3rd week. The latest title is ‘Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites’, published by BBC Books, 26th February 2015.
Mary has shared her culinary secrets with the nation, initially appearing on Judith Chalmers’ Afternoon Plus show in the 1970s, and also having a regular cookery slot on BBC Radio 2’s Debbie Thrower Programme. Mary went on to host seven cookery series for Thames Television, as well as series for the BBC including Mary Berry at Home and Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cakes. During this time Mary continued to host Aga cookery classes from her home in Buckinghamshire as well as raising her young family.
Currently Mary is a judge on BAFTA award winning The Great British Bake Off which moved from BBC2 to BBC1 for its 5th series, with viewing figures peaking at 10.3 million, the highest ever for the show, and some of the highest ratings across the BBC in 2014. Series 6 kicked off with 10 million viewers for its first episode in 2015.
Mary is well known for other shows such as The Great Sport Relief Bake Off, Great British Food Revival (BBC2), Food & Drink, The One Show (BBC1) and on radio including the Chris Evans Breakfast Show, the Graham Norton Show (BBC Radio 2), and Woman’s Hour (BBC Radio 4). In January 2013 a two part documentary, The Mary Berry Story (BBC2), followed Mary as she shared memories from her childhood and early career, revisiting Bath and London. Most recently she has had success with her own series’ Mary Berry Cooks, and Mary Berry’s Absolute Christmas Favourites, both on BBC2 in 2014, and Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites, on BBC2 in May 2015.
In April 2014 the Mary Berry Bakes recipe app was launched for iPhone and iPad, and Mary has collaborated with Lakeland to produce her own cookware range, and has a beautiful collection of kitchen and homeware available through John Lewis and Sainsbury’s.
In 2012 Mary was awarded a CBE for services to culinary arts, and in 2014 she received the Freedom of the City of Bath, where city officials said she had “always been an exemplary ambassador” for her home city, and was a deserving recipient of their highest and most prestigious award. In Autumn 2014 she was listed second on Radio Times ’30 most influential females in broadcasting’ and won the ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award at the Specsavers National Book Awards.
Kruger Cowne Speaker Awards: Food & Drinks Speaker of the Year 2014.