Entertainment

OBE is ‘the icing on my little cake', says TV cook

Nigel Slater's book Toast was brought to life in a play and a 2010 BBC film starring Helena Bonham Carter.

Food writer and cook Nigel Slater has described being made an OBE in recognition of his culinary career as “the icing on my little cake”.

The 63-year-old received the honour, for services to cookery and literature, from the Prince of Wales in an investiture ceremony at St James’s Palace.

Speaking afterwards, Slater said: “I tried to be a chef, but I wasn’t a very good one, it’s a different mindset for that, but it was always going to be cooking. It was always going to be about making something to eat, and that’s been 35 years now.

Investiture at St James’s Palace
Nigel Slater receives his honour from the Prince of Wales (Aaron Chown/PA)

“So this is lovely, this is the icing on my little cake really – fabulous.”

The television cook has featured in a number of series and is the Observer newspaper’s food writer.

His best-seller, Toast, chronicles personal moments from his childhood through foods which have gone in and out of fashion, such as Caramac bars and Arctic Rolls.

The book was brought to life in a play and a 2010 BBC film starring Helena Bonham Carter as Slater’s stepmother, in a nostalgic drama which traced the writer’s journey to adulthood through evocative tastes and smells.

Toast screening – London
Helena Bonham Carter and Nigel Slater during a screening of the film Toast (Ian West/PA)

Slater sought solace in food after his beloved mother died when he was just nine, and he had a difficult relationship with both his father and the woman he later married.

He said: “It was very odd, I wrote that book and I got about three-quarters of the way through it and I felt it was too personal, and I thought ‘I’m not sure I want this published’.

“And then my editor said ‘No, I think you should’, and that was it, it just exploded, and it’s been wonderful to watch what has happened to it.”

Slater said the book has resonated with many readers.

“People wrote to me and said ‘You’ve just written my life story’, exactly the same, people had the same childhood,” he said.

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