Published: 00:01, 18 March 2017
Viewers were left bereft when Mary Berry announced she wouldn’t be following The Great British Bake Off’s move to Channel 4.
But fear not, fans – five months on and the cook, whose final GBBO hurrah came in the form of a National Television Award for Best TV Judge earlier this year, is back with a new BBC 2 TV series and accompanying cookbook, Mary Berry Everyday, celebrating items which have formed the cornerstone of her cooking over six decades.
“I was thinking about, as the title suggests, the everyday,” explains Mary, 81, whose culinary career started with training, aged 21, at Le Cordon Bleu school, France. “Everyday can be just with the family, it can mean having friends around, it can be a special occasion.”
While the six-part series will follow Berry as she travels to Scotland to enjoy the best of their everyday larder; tries her hand at bee keeping; and teaches her own grand-daughter to milk a goat and make cheese, the tie-in tome will document her own kitchen creations (120, to be exact), alongside top tricks and tips.
With everything from hearty and wholesome, to indulgent and easy crowd-pleasers on the menu, it’s a catalogue that’s sure to please.
“All the recipes are tried out at home,” notes the star, who reveals she welcomes constructive criticism from her tight-knit family (Berry often cooks for her husband, Paul Hunnings, and their children and grandchildren).
“The children might say, ‘Oh yuck’, or someone may say, ‘That takes too long to do’, and those don’t go in the book,” she confides. “But I make sure there aren’t too many of those!
“It’s important not to have too many ingredients or pieces of equipment,” she adds. “I want to inspire people to cook, and I do think a book is a nice thing to have. I’m very lucky that people trust me and that they have a go.”
With more than 70 titles under her belt, it’s safe to say people do trust Berry - and fans will be pleased to hear she isn’t hanging up her apron strings any time soon.
“I’m not stepping back – I am doing different things,” she insists. “Maybe Mel, Sue and I will get down to something...” she adds cryptically (the Bake Off co-presenters also decided to quit the popular series when the shock channel switch was announced, though her fellow judge, Kent’s Paul Hollywood, opted to stay), though it’s unlikely to happen overnight.
“I’ve got a new series on country houses coming up, I’ll be doing a bit at Chelsea [Flower Show] I expect, and I’ll be doing a new series for 2018,” lists Berry. “Don’t worry – I won’t be idle.”
Mary Berry Everyday by Mary Berry, with photography by Georgia Glynn Smith, is published by BBC Books, priced £26.