Mary Berry honoured with Dame Commander title for cooking and charity work

Mary Berry honoured with Dame Commander title for cooking and charity work
The baker says she will celebrate with a sandwich

Former Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry has been made a Dame Commander in recognition of her 50-year culinary career and charity work.

The television presenter and chef said she was “proud and honoured” to be given the title by Prince Charles during a ceremony at Windsor Castle on Wednesday 20 October.

Dame Mary, who was joined by her husband, Paul Hunnings, said she will be celebrating by “going home for a sandwich”.

“I’m extremely proud and honoured, I just wish my parents were here – they’re looking down and my children are quite excited,” she said.

“My aim is to pass on the skill that I love so much, because everybody has to cook each day, whether it’s a student or whatever it is, you’ve got to feed yourself so why not learn to do it well and enjoy it.”

Dame Mary is most well-known for her past work as a judge on the Great British Bake Off, a competition to find the UK’s best amateur baker.

“I thoroughly enjoyed being on Bake Off, I was there seven years, we were a great team Paul Hollywood, Mel and Sue – we enjoyed every minute,” she said.

It is not the first time Dame Mary’s cooking abilities have been recognised by the royal family.

In 2019, she teamed up with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for a Christmas baking special on BBC.

A Very Berry Christmas saw the trio visit a number of charities before Prince William and Kate Middleton showed off their culinary skills under Dame Mary’s supervision.

“Kate is a remarkable, enthusiastic cook – she’ll have a go at anything. She made a beautiful roulade and William had a go too and she was icing cakes and was an absolute natural, and I like the idea that she’ll seek to do things well,” the chef said.

Dame Mary is also set to star in a new BBC series, which has been given the working title Mary Berry’s Fantastic Feasts.

The show will follow the presenter as she aims to help novice home cooks impress their loved ones with a lavish meal.

Speaking about the positive encouragement she receives from the public, Dame Merry said being stopped by strangers who have tried her recipes gives her a “lift”.

“A highlight is when I’m in a supermarket and someone just touches my shoulder and says ‘I made that lemon drizzle cake and my family love it’ or ‘your lasagne is the best’, those sorts of things give one a lift in the day, and it’s nice of them to say it,” she said.

Other women who received the Dame Commander title this year include Sarah Gilbert, a British vaccinologist who co-developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, Alwen Williams, the chief executive of the Barts Health NHS Trust in London and English pianist Imogen Cooper.

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