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Mary, Mary, quite the Berry!

 05 Apr 2019  Blog

Celebrity chef and television personality Mary Berry has enjoyed a successful career in baking since she took her first job demonstrating ovens to customers in their own homes. The domestic goddess has spent a lifetime sharing her mouth-watering recipes with fans - and shows no sign of slowing down, even at the age of 84.

Her love for cooking was sparked at Bath High School in the 1940s, when domestic science was the only topic that she enjoyed. This led to her first job working in Bath Electricity Board's showroom. She went to customers' homes to demonstrate how to use their new oven by baking her now trademark Victoria sponge.

She moved to London at the age of 22 to work for the Dutch Dairy Bureau, where she created and demonstrated recipes using Dutch butter and cheese. In the evenings, she studied for her City and Guilds in cookery at the same time.

To complete her education, she studied at Bath School of Home Economics, while her employer sent her on a training course at the famous French culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu, in Paris.


© Malisa Nicolau / Adobe Stock


Writing and broadcasting

Berry became the cookery editor of Housewife magazine (and later of Ideal Home magazine) in the 1960s, sparking her writing career. In 1970, she wrote her first cookery book, The Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook - the first of around 70 recipe books that she has continued to write over the past five decades, selling more than five million copies. Her cookery books contain recipes for everything from the traditional Sunday roast to sweet treats and desserts and are not confined to cake-baking.

In the early 1970s, Berry co-hosted her first TV series, Afternoon Plus, with Judith Chalmers, which was a big hit with the daytime viewing audience. Her most famous series to date must surely be The Great British Bake Off, on which she was a judge alongside Paul Hollywood, the English celebrity chef - members of the public take part in a cake-baking contest in the TV studio, as they compete for the best baker title. She has also hosted a number of spin-off shows, including The Junior Bake Off and the charity fundraisers, Comic Relief Bake Off and Sports Relief Bake Off, between 2009 and 2016.

Her other cookery shows have included Mary Berry Cooks, Classic Mary Berry and her latest BBC series, Mary Berry Everyday, which started in 2017 – there is a new recipe book of the same name.


Queen of baking

In October 2012, Berry was awarded the CBE by the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle for services to culinary arts, earning her the title in the media of the "queen of baking", as well as other awards.

In December 2014, Berry received the Specsavers National Book Awards' Outstanding Achievement award. On 25th January 2017, she also won the National Television Awards' prize for best TV judge for Great British Bake Off.


Mary's berry recipes

Many of Mary's recipes are for mouth-watering desserts that contain fresh fruit - she’s living up to her name by baking with berries! With a crisp outer shell and contrasting soft centre, her legendary strawberry pavlova is complete with fresh strawberries and lashings of cream.

For something more exotic, try her pistachio and raspberry pavlova with butterscotch sauce - making it with fresh raspberries picked from your own garden will make all the difference.

What about her summer berry pavlova, which is an easy meringue dessert, with fresh mixed summer berries such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries? You can use which ever fruit you prefer.

When you're growing your own berries, make sure the wild birds don't get to them before you do! Henry Cowls' fruit cages and bird netting will protect your crop until you're ready to pick it yourself. Contact us today for further details of our useful products.

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