The 5-minute Interview: Prue Leith, Chef, writer, broadcaster

'I wish people would start thinking about the joy of eating well'
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Prue Leith, 68, achieved acclaim in the 1960s when she opened the Michelin-starred restaurant Leith's . She is also a food correspondent, an entrepreneur and a novelist. Today she chairs the school charity Focus on Food and the British Food Trust and is currently judging BBC2's "Great British Menu"

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Having a massage to recover from a Pilates class, which has crippled me. I'm talking boot camp Pilates – it isn't gentle, it's agony.

A phrase I use far too often...

"I know I'm being bossy but...". I'm nicknamed the "food tsar" by the press. I'm always giving my opinion on things like; "Don't nanny children", although children sometimes do need a nanny. Being a judge on Great British Menu reinforces this image of me.

I wish people would take more notice of...

Obesity and start thinking about the joys of eating well. The whole question of food is framed as if it's just about avoiding bad health not about the pleasure of food and the joys of feeling well.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

Winning Business Woman of the Year in 1990.

A common misperception of me is...

That I am a great cook, but I didn't get my Michelin star – the chef did. People say I'm a celebrity chef, and I am on telly a lot but that's because I judge contests. Perhaps I'm more of a celebrity eater than a cook.

I am not a politician but...

I have to understand politics. As chairman of the School Food Trust I can't charge in and demand something because I won't get it. Although one of the things I've been demanding for years I got – it was compulsory cooking in the curriculum and I'm pleased we have attention on school food.

The ideal night out is...

A really good theatre and then Bentleys Oyster Bar in Piccadilly for herring.

In weak moments I...

Cry.

I'm good at...

Being persistent. I've worked for six years to get a chef's qualification accepted called triple AAA. It's a practical exam to tell if chefs can cook.

I'm bad at...

Saying no. I can't resist temptation of any kind.

You know me as a cook but in another life I'd have been...

I've been an entrepreneur, a writer, a food correspondent. I might have been an architect – but I'm bad at maths.I'm a great admirer of Richard Rogers.

The best age to be is...

40 because your children are a pleasure, you have energy and you're still young enough to believe that you're indestructible.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

Go for it.

Photini Philippidou

Comments