Wolverhampton TV cook Nigel Slater says OBE is 'icing on cake'

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”.

Nigel Slater after being made an OBE for services to cookery and to literature
Nigel Slater after being made an OBE for services to cookery and to literature

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.

Slater spent his early years in Wolverhampton and his memoir ‘Toast - the Story of a Boy’s Hunger’ is a poignant account of his early memories through the medium of food, ranging from Caramac bars to Arctic Rolls.

He lived in a detached house in Penn and attended Woodfield School. He describes the impact of bereavement and the comfort food and cooking gave him as he grew up.

The book won six awards and was later made into a film starring Helena Bonham Carter and Freddie Highmore as well as a touring play.

Slater went on to establish himself as a popular TV cook and food writer and he was given the honour in recognition for his service to the industry.

Nigel Slater receives his honour from the Prince of Wales

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

Slater said he always 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 describes in the book visiting Penn Road Butchers to buy kidneys in an attempt to cook a breakfast to make his his father happy.

Nigel Slater as a young boy in Wolverhampton

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.”

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