An evening with Mary Berry at Birmingham Town Hall

March 20th, 2017
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Mary Berry is the grand dame of British cookery. The star of the Great British Bake Off, and a face in British television cookery since the 1970s, she is a real icon, has loved for her fashion sense as she is for her slightly naughty personality (soggy bottoms anyone!). Last Thursday a packed Birmingham Town Hall sat enthralled as Mary talked all things cooking and family in her own inimitable way. Here are some of the highlights of a fascinating evening with the woman rightly described as ‘one of the most important voices in food in this century and the last century.’

On the National Television Awards

I didn’t think I was going to win, I went to see all the cast of ‘Call the Midwife’. I didn’t think I would win best judge, Len Goodman was retiring and there was Simon Cowell who was bound to win, so I didn’t do a speech. I hadn’t even worked out how to get on the stage. But I was very honoured because it’s the viewers who vote, not a team.

School Days

At school I went to the back of the class so I wouldn’t be asked any questions. My best subject was domestic science or break.

Ski Days

I went to be a chalet girl in Gstaad.  We invited guests over from the UK and charged them £22 a fortnight, and we did all the cooking and skied all day.


I used to smuggle piglets into my bed. My dad loved animals far more than us children. I always loved the runt of the letter. I used to nip in and fetch them, wrap them in a towel and take them to bed. There was nothing nicer to take to bed.


I worked for the Ideal Home Magazine. There were only two pages of colour in magazines in those days, and the recipes were very classic. I was one of the first people to go to celebrities to get their recipes. Mary Quant was one of the first, she did a sausage risotto. She got a local restaurant to make her recipe, but she dressed the room so beautifully – she was a designer not a cook. But the recipe was delicious.

Early Television

I wrote a book on freezing for M&S at the time when people were just starting to freeze things at home. It was picked up by producers looking for a cooking segment for a Judith Chalmers  programme. I was asked if I would be interested in television and I jumped at it. They created me a kitchen in the studio from scratch – non of the cupboards opened and the sink was actually from a hose and a bucket – but it was really good fun.

Bake Off

‘There’s going to be a new TV series about cakes and baking – would you like to be considered as a judge?’ Liked to, I’d love to. I got the job but then they said you’ll also be doing bread. Now, I wasn’t very good at bread so they brought in four bread experts and asked who I would like to work with. I chose Paul Hollywood and we has seven fabulous years together, such terrific fun. I love that the format got Britain baking, particularly children. I always had a hot water bottle under my coat on Bake Off. A hot water bottle is such an old fashioned thing isn’t it.

Bake off Mantra

My Mantra is to get people to enjoy baking, to always find something good about the creation. So even if it sinks or falls apart you need to say something nice, like that it has good flavours.


I’ve never had a pizza delivered, and this is thought to be rather odd, but I’ve just never got around to it.


I love growing herbs, everybody can do it whether you have a big garden and a window box. When I started cooking it was all dried herbs, now you can get so many fresh and they add so much flavour to cooking.


I like to do a recipe, do a few things with it and suggest a few different ingredients you could use, and then suggest what to do with the leftovers.

Selfie with my Sister in Law




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21 Responses to “An evening with Mary Berry at Birmingham Town Hall”

  1. Someone needs to tell Mary Berry that she needs a pizza in her life! Always loved her as a judge on GBO xx

  2. hannah says:

    Looks like a great event. I’ve never gotten into the Great British Bakeoff x

  3. Sarah Bailey says:

    She really had some good anecdotes in this interview! It’s always so interesting to hear this kind of behind the scenes information from someone who is such an icon. I love the story of her sneaking piglets into her bed!

  4. Wow what a fabulous event to attend. I love Mary Berry, she’s quite sassy and has some fab stories to tell! xxx

  5. What an amazing event – I love Merry Berry! x

  6. Sounds like an amazing event. I’ve never seen the great british bake off but obviously know about Mary Berry and she sounds like an awesome woman x

  7. StressedMum says:

    What a great event, I loved watching Great British Bake Off, was always one of my favourite programs, I would have loved to have been at this event x

  8. Kristina Maggiora says:

    Such a nice event to attend and Mary has always been my favourite judge 🙂

  9. Anna nuttall says:

    Oh how exciting. I bet she was an amazing speaker and gave all sort of baking advice. xx

  10. Yaya says:

    Never saw an episode of GBBO despite all the popularity, but think Mary Berry is a darling. x

  11. Seven years of Bake Off! Woweeee! She’s a fantastic character! Love that she used to carry a hot water bottle under her coat on the show!

  12. Sounds like a brilliant event, Mary Berry was brilliant on bake off

  13. I love the idea of her sneaking little piglets up to bed when she was little! That’s so cute!

  14. Charli Bruce says:

    I love Mary Berry, seems like it was such a great event x

  15. Lianne says:

    Looks like you had a great time, it’s a shame she’s left bake off!

  16. Rachel says:

    Oh this is such a cute evening. She did an evening event here in London which I sadly missed x

  17. Dannii says:

    Mary Berry is my idol! I love that she drinks gin and eats cake and looks amazing for it!

  18. Anosa says:

    Oh what an opportunity for you and your sister-in-law. I am sure that you both a lot of fun.

  19. cheskaaanels says:

    Awwh I love this! I adore Mary Berry and the interview sounds really interesting!!

  20. Dani says:

    This sounds like a super fun day!
    I love Mary Berry 🙂

    Dani x

  21. Sounds like a fun event! I wish they did more things like this in Atlanta where I live!

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