Who is Prue Leith? New Great British Bake Off 2017 judge who has replaced Mary Berry


PRUE Leith is the new face of Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off — a face which spends a lot of time being filled with cakes, bread and biscuits.

She has replaced Mary Berry as a judge on the popular show, bringing over 50-years of experience to the Channel 4 show. So what else do we know about the woman tasked with stepping into Mary’s shoes?

 Prue Leith lines up alongside Noel Felding, Sandi Toksvig and Paul Hollywood

PA:Press Association
Prue Leith lines up alongside Noel Felding, Sandi Toksvig and Paul Hollywood

Who is Prue Leith? What is her background?

Prue Leith is a restaurateur, cookery writer and television presenter.

Born in South Africa in 1940, she tried her hand studying Drama, Fine Art and even Architecture before moving to France to study the language.

But it was there that she discovered a love for food – she noted in her Life So Far that she was inspired to cook by a woman she worked for as an au pair in France.

The budding chef then decided to learn to cook at the Cordon Bleu in London.

Starting her career catering for high-class business lunches, Leith worked her way up to opening her own restaurant, Leith’s, that eventually worked its way into being awarded a Michelin star.

During her cooking career, she also opened Leith’s School of Food and Wine in 1974 – selling it almost 20 years later.

 The food lover studied at the Cordon Bleu and started up her own business

The food lover studied at the Cordon Bleu and started up her own business

While she has had a whirlwind cooking career, Prue was also married to author Rayne Kruger, with the pair having two children together.

The couple were married for almost 40 years before Kruger’s death.

After marrying John Playfair five months ago, the TV chef says she ‘feels like a teenager again’ due to her thriving sex life with her husband 7 years her junior.

Prue has been recognised around the world for her contributions to the cooking world.

She was appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1989, as well as being awarded as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2010.

 Leith has received a number of awards, including an OBE and a CBE

Nick Edwards
Leith has received a number of awards, including an OBE and a CBE

What books has Prue written?

Prue Leith has written a number of fiction and non-fiction books, all centred around cooking.

Some of her fiction books include The Food of Love trilogy, as well as The Gardener.

Her other cook books include Leith’s How to Cook, Leith’s Cookery Bible and Leith’s Techniques Bible.

One of her biggest achievements is simply maintaining her love for cooking.

On her website, she writes: “I love cooking, the doing of it… I still like experimenting and trying stuff and eating things I’ve never eaten before. “

Has Prue Leith judged in a TV cooking competition before?

Devout cooking fans will instantly have recognised Prue from the BBC’s Great British Menu.

The competition sees top British chefs compete for the chance to cook a course of a four-course banquet.

Prue judged on the panel for 11 years alongside Oliver Peyton and Matthew Fort until it was announced in October 2016 that she would be replaced by Andi Oliver.

 The experienced cook has said she loves cooking - and eating - even after five decades in the kitchen

The experienced cook has said she loves cooking – and eating – even after five decades in the kitchen

How much money is Prue being paid for Great British Bake Off?

Leith will earn three times more than Mary Berry when she takes over her position on the revamped Great British Bake Off.

The veteran telly cook, 77, is said to have signed a deal with Channel 4 worth around £200,000 for the series.

It dwarfs the £70,000 both Mary, 81, and co-judge Paul Hollywood, 51, commanded for the show under the BBC.

The savvy TV personality is no stranger to a lucrative deal.

When she sold off her food interests in 1995, her culinary group’s turnover was £15million, according to Spears.

What did Prue Leith tell viewers to do about “adverts” during the Great British Bake Off?

Prue risked the wrath of Channel Four by urging viewers to record the show and skip the adverts.

The former BBC1 hit will be packed more tightly with ads than any show in Channel 4’s history.

The show will have four breaks lasting nearly 17 minutes when it airs next Tuesday.

It means viewers will enjoy just 58 minutes and 18 seconds of baking and banter during the show’s 75 minutes on air.

But Leith has dashed Channel 4’s hopes of racking up a record number of viewers to tune in at 8pm, the Daily Telegraph reports.

She said: “I want to comfort some people who might think, ‘Oh, I don’t want to go to Channel 4 because I don’t want to have the ads’.

“You don’t have to watch it in real time, do you?”

When is Great British Bake Off on channel four?

The new series of The Great British Bake Off started on August 29 and continues to air every week on Tuesday at 8pm on Channel 4.

The Bake Off was bought by Channel 4 last year amid much controversy, meaning the popular cooking contest moved from the BBC.

There were a few casualties of the move so popular hosts Mel and Sue and much-loved judge Mary Berry won’t be appearing on the new series.

Paul Hollywood will now be joined on the judging panel by Prue.

While the show will now be presented by Sandi Toksvig and funny man Noel Fielding.

All the brilliant, bizarre and best bits of The Great British Bake Off

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