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Page 3 Profile: Nigel Slater, Cook

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Food favourite

Chef! Nigel Slater has been crowned the nation’s favourite celebrity chef, replacing no-nonsense Delia Smith in a poll to mark Olive magazine’s 10th anniversary. But with 12 recipe books and two critically acclaimed autobiographies under his belt, by his own admission Slater is a cook who writes.

Food glorious food?

His dishes are understated, handcrafted home cooking without a trace of what he affectionately calls “celebrity cheffery”. He is not fond of fussy food and prefers simple suppers made with care and thought.  As a food columnist for more than 18 years and presenter of BBC1’s Simple Suppers, Slater has been able to spread his mantra to a wide audience.

The food of love?

Toast, his award-winning memoir, tells the story of how he used food to compete with his stepmother Dorothy for his father’s attention after his mother died when he was just nine. Their biggest battle was over his father’s favourite, lemon meringue pie and Slater has admitted resorting to subterfuge in order to produce the best version. Starved of affection after his mother’s death, Slater slowly learned to find food his only friend.

That would make a good film. 

The BBC thought so. The autobiography, which won six major awards, was turned into a movie starring Helena Bonham Carter in 2010. Slater’s second autobiography Eating for England is drastically different as it explores the delights and eccentricities of the British when they sit down at the dinner table.    

What’s next on the menu?

His most recent book, Eat - The Little Book of Fast Food, has just been published and he is currently filming a new series for BBC1.