The Rurbanist: Mary Berry

By Amy Wakeham

1 year ago

A baking legend

Mary Berry is The Rurbanist in the Jan/Feb 2023 issue of Country & Town House. She speaks to Amy Wakeham about the joy of teaching, working hard and making the most of every opportunity.

Main image: © Stephen Reed/ WikiCommons

The Rurbanist: Interview with Mary Berry

What’s bringing you joy? One thing I love to do is to cook on the telly – because I have an amazingly big cookery class [of all the viewers], and I love teaching. It’s lovely to share the skill that I love.

A current project you’re proud of? My new range of pots and pans. I find cast iron casserole dishes lovely, but I can’t lift them, so we’ve had similar ones made in cast aluminium, which is much lighter, and all non-stick. Plus, cake tins in the sizes people want. I’ve written a lot of cake books and I keep to non-fancy tins that people are likely to use often.

Mary Berry casserole dish

Mary Berry At Home 28cm cast aluminium shallow casserole, £69.95.

Advice to your 15-year-old self? I would give myself a very good lecture about working at school, but also to follow your passion, follow your dreams.

Best life advice? Be a good listener and take advantage of all the things that are offered to you, because it makes your life more interesting.

City or country? Definitely country. We lived in London when we were first married, in Hillgate Village, and we couldn’t afford a big house. We had to take the wheels off the pram to get it through the door. When we had two boys, and hardly any garden, it was time to move out. There’s so much to do in the countryside – if you like walking it’s free, and you can take your children and dogs, and you feel much better.

Where do you go to escape from it all? I don’t want to escape from it, I love it! But my husband and I go away in February when nothing is growing in the garden. And in the summer we go away with all our children and grandchildren, to somewhere they choose.

The book you wished you’d written? I haven’t got one! I’m often asked to write a book for university students, but I haven’t had the experience of having children at university, so I don’t feel I’m qualified for that. I might get one of my grandchildren to do it.

Your biggest triumph? Being honoured by becoming a dame. It was unexpected, and there aren’t many dames who are cooks.

What does a life in balance mean to you? I feel immensely fortunate to have a very happy family around me. At this stage, at 87, I’ve done most things and I love to share what I enjoy with other people.

Quick Fire Favourites…

Lemon drizzle cake

Lemon drizzle cake with icing. © Getty

Perfume First by Van Cleef & Arpels

Chocolate Amélie Chocolat

Song Anything by Abba

Dish Lemon drizzle cake

Gadget Sharp knives

Restaurant Le Gavroche

Mary Berry’s new ‘At Home’ range of bakeware, utensils and accessories is out now.