The consort of confectionary, princess of pudding, and the unofficial Queen of tarts, Mary Berry has made pastry sexy again.
And you know, her life isn’t as far removed from yours as you might have thought.
Since she's just announced her departure from The Great British Bake Off, we thought we'd reveal 12 reasons why this octogenarian is absolutely worth her weight in lemon drizzle cake.
1. She’s seen pain
At just 13, Mary contracted polio and spent three months in hospital. She survived with a twisted spine, a weaker hand and a thinner left arm – but in true Bezza style, she's credited the illness for both toughening her up, and giving her a zest for life.
2. She, at times, has not felt like she fit in
She described her level of academia in school as ‘hopeless’ and it wasn’t until 'domestic science' teacher Ms Date encouraged her cooking abilities that she felt she had something to be proud of.
YOU GO, MARY!
3. She has had the job you've always wanted
Her’s first job was at the Bath electricity boardroom, in which she conducted home visits to show users how to use their electric ovens. She would typically do this by baking a Victoria sponge, a method she still uses to test new ovens today.
4. She's lived like a student, like the rest of us
She moved to London at 22 to live with four other young women, and then persuaded her boss to send her to the prestigious Corden Bleu cookery school in Paris. Here, she resided in a grimy youth hostel and lived on baguettes to save money. What a trooper.
5. She’s a boss both at home and in the workplace
In 1966 she became the food editor of Housewife magazine, and when it was time for her to give birth to her children, she only took five weeks off on each occasion, for fear her position would be filled – as she was victim to a somewhat crappy system whereby there was no fixed maternity leave in place.
She then became food editor of Ideal Home magazine from 1970 to 1973.
6. She is the pinnacle of glam grannies
In March 2013, Berry was placed second in the list of fifty best-dressed over 50s by The Guardian. Bezza is famously known for her snazzy jumper collection on Bake-Off – so much so that both an M&S swan jumper and a Zara floral bomber she wore, completely sold out quickly after after the episodes were aired.
7. She’s a closet session fiend
On a recent trip to Ibiza for a friend’s wedding, Mary, aged 71, snuck off to the island’s infamous nightclub Pacha for some midnight mischief. And if you think it was just dancing, you couldn’t be more wrong – Bake Off co-host Sue Perkins told Alan Carr that after a lovely cast dinner, Berry started on the tequila slammers.
No grimace, no faces pulled, just down-in-one. Yes Mary!
8. She keeps it real
In an interview with The Telegraph, she admits: ‘’I’ve had more baking disasters than hot dinners, usually because I forget to put the timer on. I’m very good at pressing the timer, but I often walk out of the room, or forget to press Go.
"If you do overcook things, which we all do, you can just scoop out the middle, and fill it with fruit and cream. The family won’t know it’s a pudding, not a cake.’’
When things go wrong, add vast amounts of cream; wisdom for us all to live by.
9. She has a Netflix addiction too
Berry is said to be something of a Breaking Bad super-fan, and known to indulge with presenters Sue and Mel on set. Suppose it’s a show about cooking too...
10. She takes no shit from nobody
When asked would she be stuck on an island with Gordon Ramsay, she replied: "I'm told he's really a great chap but if he's going to swear at me I'm not going.’’
11. Deep down, she’s a proper Mammy
Known to all as the sweeter, more sympathetic of the two Bake Off judges, Mary tells BBC blogs that cooking gives her ‘’great satisfaction, especially knowing that you're making something that other people can enjoy. It's never work, always a pleasure.’’
Gowan Mary, you absolute dote.