Screen lessons in cooking: Britain’s best TV chefs

We’ve all got very much into cooking lately with this lockdown, haven’t we, dear friends – and into cooking programmes on TV, too! Because, no matter how many recipes we know or how many cookery books we’ve got, those guys who REALLY know their job have always got new ideas for us. Regional specialities, international cooking, new variations and creations… And, of course, they’re also great fun to watch – we never get tired of their shows!

I’ve put together a list of the British TV chefs I most love and admire; if you’ve got other propositions, tell me about them, dear friends, I’m always happy to get to know more TV chefs!


1 The Hairy Bikers

My darling Ian and me have simply got to LOVE the Hairy Bikers; we watch them whenever we can catch one of their programmes! Those two wonderful fellows from Oop North, David Myers and Si King, really love British food, and they literally roam the whole country on their motorbikes in order to find rare regional recipes and ideas. They’ve also been around the Mediterranean, though, teaching us about Southern European food!


2 Mary Berry

Mary Berry is the Grande Dame of British TV cooking; she’s written dozens of books, and she’s been on British TV for decades. This lovable lady has taught us everything from how to cook Scottish salmon to how to make a classic Victoria sponge cake… She’s judged many a TV cooking competition show, and even 85 she still delights us with her guest appearances on various shows!


3 Gino D’Acampo

Everybody’s favourite Italian chef, Gino actually grew up in Naples – so he knows a LOT about real Italian cuisine! He’s been travelling all around Italy in order to teach Brits about this wonderful cuisine, perhaps the best in the world… He’s also got his own range of Italian food at Iceland, in which my darling husband and me often indulge!


4 Rick Stein

Rick Stein, my darling Ian’s very favourite TV chef, specialises in fish and seafood; he’s got his own restaurants in Cornwall, and he knows literally everything about all sorts of food the sea gives us. He’s also been travelling a lot, through his favourite country France and to Mexico, teaching us a lot about not only the food but also the way of life in those countries.


5 Jamie Oliver

Ever since “The Naked Chef” in 1999, Jamie Oliver has been Britain’s favourite ‘nice guy’ cook – inspiring lots of men to try and cook for the first time! He can explain simple recipes to beginners in the most endearing way, and his enthusiasm about cooking really is catching.


6 Nadiya Hussain

After winning “The Great British Bake-Off” in 2015, Nadiya became a shooting star on British TV. She does British and international cuisine, specialising in Indian and Bangladeshi recipes she got handed down by her family. She’s also written not only cookery books, but also a novel!


7 Delia Smith

Delia Smith has been one of the big names in British cooking for decades; she’s written dozens of books with not only recipes but also lots of practical advice on kitchen equipment and all sorts of other things. She’s been most helpful to whole generations of beginners at cooking; she doesn’t much appear on TV these days, but she’s offering her recipes online!


8 Ainsley Harriott

Ainsley is one of those typical Caribbean multi-talents: he sings, he acts, he writes, and of course he cooks! Many Brits owe their first taste of Caribbean cuisine to him, and his programmes are both extremely instructive and endlessly entertaining.


9 Gordon Ramsay

Before getting injured and having to change his career path, Gordon Ramsay actually played football for Rangers! He then became a noted chef, and in the 1990s he started appearing on television; in his shows “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” and “Hell’s Kitchen”, he established himself as an ingenious maître – but he can, of course, also just show us how to do a simple curry!


10 Heston Blumenthal

Heston is one of Britain’s most famous star chefs; his Berkshire restaurant ‘The Fat Duck’ is one of only five in the UK that have got three Michelin stars! He’s also very prominent on TV, making the public familiar with his innovative concepts like molecular gastronomy and multi-sensory cooking. He also does simpler things, though, as well!


As I said, dear friends, if you’ve got other recommendations of great TV chefs please tell me!

Finally, a tip: on Freeview Channel 41, all across Britain you can receive the Food Network channel, where you can admire most of the chefs mentioned here and also a lot of others.

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