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Cookery has become ‘poncy theatre on a plate’, says Delia Smith

PUBLISHED: 18:26 14 November 2017

Delia Smith after she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II at an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.

Delia Smith after she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II at an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.

Television chef and Norwich City majority shareholder Delia Smith has said she thinks cooking has become “very poncy, very chefy”, as she also revealed she does not like or enjoy the current trend for “theatre on a plate”.

Delia Smith after she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II at an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire. Delia Smith after she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II at an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.

The veteran chef, 76, was speaking after she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) for services to cookery, at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

Pressed on whether there are currently any food fads or cooking techniques which she dislikes, having written many cookbooks throughout her career, she admitted there are.

She said: “Cooking has become very poncy, very chefy - if I get one more plate put in front of me with six dots of sauce on it, I will go mad.

“I can’t do it, I just can’t do it. The joy, years ago, of going to a really special restaurant and having a really special meal, has gone.

“It is very hard to find one that isn’t trying to be theatre on a plate. I don’t like it at all.”

Stressing that the focus of cooking should be on flavoursome ingredients, she said she would rather eat meat once a month but with “all the flavour it should have”, and that food quality is suffering through mass production.

She said: “The mass production takes away the real flavour - now people just want to tear out the breasts of chickens and ducks, they don’t want the rest.”

Mrs Smith went on to say that the fact the UK is now the most overweight country in Europe is a “very distressing” fact, and that one of the reasons for the problem is Britain’s addiction to sweet things.

She said: “When you go into a supermarket you see yards and yards of chocolate bars and sweets, and children are going past it.

“If you picked a piece of sugar cane it would take you a fortnight to get through it, then it all gets refined down to a teaspoonful - and I think that is one of the problems, addiction to the sweet.”

The 76-year-old said she was “deeply, deeply honoured” to receive her CH and walking up to collect it from the Queen at the investiture ceremony was “nerve-wracking”.

She said: “Over the years I had such a wonderful response from people - in a way their response to what I was trying to do was what spurred me on do it. I think it belongs to them as well.”

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