Mary Berry on The Great British Bake Off : 'All the bakers are amateurs'
MSN TV chats to Mary Berry about the new series of The Great British Bake Off.
The Great British Bake Off has become a phenomenal success; what do you think is the secret of its success?
It's all very honest. All the bakers are amateurs - true amateurs. They're good home bakers. I think the people watching know the contestants could be them. It's all very real.
During the Great Sport Relief Bake Off, a celebrity version of this show for charity won by broadcaster Anita Rani, whose baking did you really enjoy tasting?
I enjoyed the fun of being with them all, but they weren't great bakers to be truthful.
What makes a great baker?
You've got to have the passion. You've got to want to bake and if you do, there are wonderful recipes to follow. If you're keen, you'll enjoy it.
Prior to your BBC2 programme, do you think we'd lost the art of baking in this country?
Unless you'd always done it, some thought it wasn't the thing to bake. Now everybody thinks baking is fun. Also, it's recession time; this is one of the occupations that's fun to do. It's not too expensive, you can share it and you can do it with the children.
Of your own creations, what is your favourite pudding/dessert?
My lemon drizzle cake. It's an easy recipe and everybody loves it.
You published your first book in 1966, how has the cooking landscape of GB changed since then?
Baking is very much the same, except that in 1966 there wasn't the baking fats which make it the all-in-one method, it was always the creaming method.
If you're talking about ordinary recipes, ordinary food, avocados were coming in back then. Also, nobody really cooked with the likes of fennel or couscous, for example. That sort of thing wasn't so popular because people weren't as well-travelled as they are today. We've got so much more variety now, so much more ingredients and recipes.
Are you ever stopped when you're out shopping for example, and asked for advice?
Oh, yes! People often stop me and say 'oh, I make your lemon drizzle cake or I love your double chocolate cake' - things like that.
How would you solve the obesity crisis that's starting to take over this country?
It's very, very serious. People are not thinking about what they're eating, they're being greedy and they're eating the wrong foods. When kids leave school and then their home, if they have no knowledge of how to cook, they will eat junk food and this cycle continues. There's no cooking in schools at the moment and I think it would be a very good idea to get it back.
Are you happy to carry on with The Great British Bake Off, your writing and all your other projects?
I will go on as long as I'm asked. I love it!
You can watch the latest episode of The Great British Bake Off on Tuesday 28 August on BBC2 at 8.00pm.