You can’t fail to have heard of the Berry – especially not in the last few years.

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Food writer and TV presenter Mary’s career has been long and varied and I first saw her face inside my Mum’s Hamlyn All-Colour Cookbook.

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This dog eared book lived in the kitchen and it’s pages were dry and dusty from from flour and from being propped up near the cooker. It had been well thumbed and, some of the recipe numbers had been circled in pen – an indication that this was a recipe Mum had tried! I liked the bold technicolour images, although most of the food – especially the desserts, did not look like anything we ever ate! I even ended up buying my own copy later in life when I was trying to learn to cook. It was Mary Berry’s first published cookbook and she has since gone on to write over 70, selling more than 5 million copies.

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She has been most notably on our screens in recent years as one of the judges on The Great British Bake Off. I love this TV series and watch avidly. Her rapport with fellow judge Paul Hollywood and her good grace at the ribbing of hosts Mel and Sue just make her seem like the loveliest lady and really good sport. Her baking prowess cannot be denied – nary a soggy bottom gets past Mary and her penchant for a drop of alcohol in a bake makes me giggle every time!

She’s also become something of a style icon, some of her outfits selling out after she’s worn them on TV. There are various entries on fashion websites with people trying to find out where Mary’s clothes are from!

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I loved her appearance on Back in Time for Dinner recently – she popped up to sell the family an electric oven! A job that she actually had early in her career. She explained that an oven would have been set up in a village hall and Mary would go along and, in front of an audience, make a Victoria sponge to demonstrate this new technology.

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Mary’s had such a long career now and hasn’t been far from our screens in all that time. She comes across as wise and unflappable but never patronising. On GBBO she is always fair but kind and carries herself with style and humour. I long to bake a Victoria Sandwich half that good.

Mary – we salute you!

It is with a culinary desire I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

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