Paul Hollywood is happy and relaxed when he shows me round his new kitchen.
Celebrity AGA Owners
I must have interviewed Mary Berry at least a dozen times and, in a world that seems full of odd twists and turns, there’s something comforting about the cosy domesticity at which she excels. She looks completely at home in her new kitchen, even though she and her husband, Paul, have not yet moved in but have spent the odd night there. Mary is looking to the future, says she is not at all nostalgic about the past and has no qualms about leaving her home of 29 years.
When I ask Marcus Bean how he describes himself, he replies that he is a “chef and dad” and that about sums up his two passions in life: food and family. He lives with his wife Jenny and their children Ella, Ava and Taia in a gorgeous farmhouse in an idyllic village in Shropshire from where the couple run the Brompton Cookery School and B&B. I visit them on a sunny autumn day and the house is a hive of activity.
Multi award-winning chef and food writer Galton Blackiston combines his time as chef patron and co-owner of a Michelin-starred hotel and restaurant with writing hugely successful cookbooks and regular appearances on high-profile TV cookery programmes.
Looking around BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker’s gorgeous new kitchen, I’m not surprised to see a basket full of eggs on one of the counters. Anyone who follows him on Twitter will know he has a bit of a thing about them – poached eggs to be precise.
It’s a dreary, drizzly and cold Saturday morning in February when I arrive on the doorstep of Anna’s Georgian townhouse in Windsor. I’m at the wrong entrance, one she doesn’t use. She pops her head round the door and directs me to the correct one. Running late, dressed in a bathrobe and her face free of make-up, she looks about 12 years old.
If you’ve always thought of an AGA as something for huge country houses, then think again. Now, with the launch of a new 60cm AGA cooker, they are as at home in the city as they are in the shires.
From humble beginnings, Marco Pierre White has risen to become one of this country’s most outstanding chefs, with one critic describing his Harvey’s restaurant as a “meteor hurtling down through the firmament.’ Back down to earth, he talked candidly to Laura James about his extraordinary career, his two AGA cookers and his plans for the future.
Mary Berry opens her newly published autobiography, Recipe for Life, with the revelation that “in the words of my father, my birth caused no end of trouble”. We soon learn that this was because she arrived two weeks early and on the very day her parents were due to move house. Having known Mary for more than 15 years, I suspect this was probably the first and last time in her 78 years that she caused any trouble for anyone.
Mary King is something of a national hero. An equestrian of more than 30 years, she has represented Great Britain at six Olympics since 1992, winning two silver and one bronze medal in the team eventing.