How Prue’s the new Mary – with a dollop of extra sauce! Despite an affair with a married man and a bad LSD trip, Prue Leith – tipped to be the new Bake Off host – has much in common with Saint Mary

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Both are doyennes of the cookery world. They are glitzy grandmas with armies of fans, a propensity for Victoria wipe, and the culinary world at their feet.

No big surprise, at that point, that after it was uncovered that cookery essayist and previous restaurateur Prue Leith was being arranged as a substitution for Incredible English Heat Off stalwart Mary Berry, who has bowed out of the show’s relaunch on Channel 4 not long from now, the two were portrayed as ‘like-for-like’.

To be sure, from multiple points of view, Prue, 76, and Mary, 81, are cut from a similar form. They’ve had decades-long vocations in the kitchen, prominent television professions (Prue as of late ventured down following ten years as a judge on BBC2’s Incredible English Menu) and penned a few effective cookbooks.

‘Both are from comparable foundations, so ideally watchers will allow Prue to prevail upon them,’ a Heat Off source said. ‘In cookery circles, she’s for all intents and purposes sovereignty.’

Prue herself said she’s not yet marked an agreement to join the show — she uncovered there are two individuals in the running — however admitted that Heat Off is her ‘fantasy work’.

‘I’ve had two tryouts with them and bunches of gatherings, so I believe I’m close.’

Be that as it may, very much set insiders said they would be “stunned” on the off chance that she didn’t land the position after Paul Hollywood — the main individual from Heat Off’s unique line-up of moderators to remain with the show after Channel 4 grabbed it from the BBC — gave her his approval.

‘She is Paul’s top choice. He truly regards her,’ a source said.

Yet, looking all the more carefully, are Mary and Prue truly as comparative as they initially show up? From her unashamed desire and candid perspectives to a long issue with a wedded man, Prue is positively no priss — and significantly more brilliant than the principled Mary.

Here’s the manner by which the two ladies coordinate …


Mary, little girl of a town surveyor and a housewife, spent her adolescence in Shower, where she grew up a spitfire, building nooks and lighting fires.

She went to Shower Secondary School, depicting her scholastic aptitudes as “miserable” – aside from in household science, where she awed educators with her treacle wipe pudding.

At 13, calamity struck: Mary contracted polio and needed to burn through three months in healing facility. Compelled to persist day and night in a glass confinement room, isolated from her folks and two siblings, she says the experience ‘toughened her up’ — however it exited her with a for all time frail left hand.

Prue spent her developmental years in Johannesburg, South Africa, where her dad worked for an organization making explosive for mines. She, as well, originated from a cheerful family and had two siblings, however disaster struck when her dad kicked the bucket when she was only 21.

Her mom, Margaret, was a renowned on-screen character, flashy and exciting, who used to turn up at the school entryways in high heels and full make-up. Prue concedes she was ‘staggeringly embarrassed’ of her, scolding her for not resembling the other, normal moms.

From age five, she went to St Mary’s Waverley in Johannesburg, an Anglican school keep running by nuns. It was, she says, ‘to a great degree strict’ — and left her frantic to spend her high school years in liberal Europe.


Matured 18, and by then enthusiastic about cooking, Mary did a two-year course at Shower School of Local Science, at that point landed a position at the Power Board, where she’d go to clients’ homes and show them how to utilize their stoves by heating cakes.

Her folks denied her to leave home until the point when she was 21, when she landed a position at the Dutch Dairy Agency in London, creating formulas utilizing margarine and cheddar — and quickly convinced her chief to subsidize a course at Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in Paris.

The chic mainland stay she’d envisioned didn’t exactly go to design, however, as she uncovered as of late.

‘I wasn’t far from home some time recently, and I remained with a family who had ten youngsters,’ she said. ‘Our first feast was horse meat. I’d quite recently left my horse in Britain and I cried completely through.’

Only a couple of years after the fact, in 1960, Prue, matured 20, likewise wound up in France. She had influenced her dad to send her to Paris to take in the dialect, and landed a position as a live in housekeeper.

It was viewing the special lady of the family unit cook, utilizing the freshest Parisian fixings, that roused her affection for nourishment.

“Unexpectedly,” she says, ‘rather than getting a preference for Baudelaire and Bonaparte, I succumbed to boeuf bourguignon and Burgundy.’

She likewise later fell in with the city’s bohemian circle, once ending up at a blow out where, all together not to look obvious, she properly peeled off.

‘I was flabbergasted at the assortment of models on offer,’ she related in her journal Relish: My Life on a Plate. ‘I was torn between needing to look and not having any desire to be seen looking.’ She includes that she was excessively humiliated, making it impossible to participate.


On her arrival, Mary turned into a formula analyzer for a PR organization and began keeping in touch with her initially book. In 1966, she moved toward becoming nourishment manager of Housewife magazine, the authoritative handbook for well to-do women.

Quietly she started becoming famous.

Prue, in the mean time, was somewhat more powerful in kick-beginning her profession. She joined a firm of London specialists as their cook, and soon a short time later began a business providing luxurious snacks to very much heeled customers (among them Princess Margaret).

This would later turn into Leith’s Great Sustenance — an immensely effective gathering and occasion cook.

Not content with running one business, Prue started establishing her own eatery, Leith’s in London’s Notting Slope, in 1969. She was not yet 30 but rather had officially gained a notoriety for being somebody who enjoyed getting her own particular manner.

What she needed in understanding, she compensated for in certainty.

She later conceded she wasn’t great at running an eatery, yet the horrifying London nourishment scene at the time — inundated with solidified, tinned dinners — made her crisp approach a moment achievement.

Insubordinate YOUTH

The nearest Mary has ever come to drugs was a short experience with a hemp lounge on the 2013 arrangement of The Incomparable English Prepare Off. Prue’s immature state of mind to stimulants was significantly more supercilious.

Amid her time living in a London bedsit, Prue procured shake “n” move guests in the state of Sixties band The Hollies — and confessed to concealing their reserve of pot in her herb pots and smoking joints in bed on languid evenings.

Prue even attempted LSD, depicting the experience as ‘a bad dream of dread and mental trip’.

‘The dividers appeared to take in and out and the air ended up plainly unmistakable and moving, similar to a 3D texture,’ she wrote in her 2012 collection of memoirs, Relish. ‘My arms dissolved, the substance trickling off the bones.’

A FAMILY Undertaking

Mary, ever ordinary, removed some time from her youngster vocation to settle down, get hitched and begin a family. She was acquainted with classicist book retailer Paul Hunnings by her senior sibling, and the match hitched in 1966.

It wasn’t, she has conceded, unexplainable adoration. ‘I developed into it,’ she once said. ‘I didn’t know in the first place. I certainly adore him all the more (today) than on our big day.’

She and Paul have now been hitched for a long time.

They had three youngsters, Thomas, Annabel and William. William kicked the bucket grievously in a pile up at 19 years old, when an understudy in Bristol.

Prue’s adoration life was much more racier. She has uncovered that from the age of 21, she had a mystery illicit relationship with a wedded man, South African essayist Rayne Kruger, who was 18 years her senior and, alongside his significant other, a dear companion of her mother’s.

She in the long run wedded Rayne in 1974, however simply after he was impelled into leaving his better half of 25 years when Prue dumped him and began seeing another man, a well off client from her eatery referred to just as ‘Jake’.

Prue and Rayne — who had a child, Daniel, and embraced a girl, Li-Da, from Cambodia — were as one until Rayne’s passing at 80 years old in 2002. Prue talked about her 13-year undertaking with Rayne when he was as yet hitched at an artistic celebration two years prior.

‘I’m not saying I am pleased with the reality, but rather it helped my business,’ she said. ‘He went home around evening time, so I could work each hour that God gave. When I wedded and had my youngsters, I had the business added to my repertoire. ”

LATE LIFE Partners

Actually no, not Mary. She and Paul have been joyfully hitched for five decades, however she admits to having a couple of ‘pleasant chaps’ in a hurry before they were presented.

‘I went into marriage knowing I wouldn’t set out not be with a similar individual for all my life,’ she said in a meeting in 2013. ‘It was for ever, whatever happened.’

Things turned out rather diversely for Prue. Crushed after her better half’s passing, she swore off men — until, in 2009, she uncovered she had succumbed to her long-lasting companion, agent and piano player Sir Ernest Corridor, who is ten years her senior.

‘Nature or Cupid, or possibly hormone substitution treatment, or the mix of sun, wine and music grasped a hand, and it was all precisely as I recollected the last time I’d begun to look all starry eyed at, and that was with my better half of 30-odd years,’ she wrote via the Post office.

The couple were as one for a long time before isolating in 2012.

After two years, Prue met John Playfair, a garments originator who is six years her lesser, at a supper party — and last October they wedded in a ‘straightforward’s service at an enroll office in Edinburgh.

Ah, it feels good to be back home

Since the late Eighties, Mary and Paul have lived in a £2 million Review II-recorded Ruler Anne House in verdant Buckinghamshire.

The property, finish with enormous kitchen and four-stove Aga, has a three-section of land cultivate with 350 distinct types of roses, a glasshouse and an Italianate plant from which she can see Windsor Palace.

As of not long ago, the family additionally claimed a £800,000 occasion bungalow in Salcombe, Devon, which they sold in 2015 to purchase some place closer to the shoreline.

Prue lives in similarly rural environment. She moved from London to the Cotswolds in 1976 and lives in £1.9 million house,

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