Mary Berry’s Fantastic Feasts episode 1: Dame Mary Berry knows a thing or two about cooking up a fantastic feast, so she is sharing her cooking skills with three novice cooks – fireman Mark, youth worker Callum and boxing instructor Thaer – who want to throw a spectacular afternoon tea to say thank you to Soraya, who runs a local youth charity. With Mary’s help, can they pull it off and give Soraya a thank you surprise she’ll never forget?
Mary has also enlisted the help of Roman Kemp and Celebs Go Dating’s Tom Read Wilson. While Mary will focus on getting the novice cooks up to speed in the kitchen, Roman and Tom oversee the extras that will make this party extra special. They are also on hand to offer moral support when temperatures rise in the kitchen.
Thaer, Mark and Callum from Cardiff have had their fair share of cooking disasters. Mark has never followed a recipe in his life, Callum’s nan does most of the cooking, and Thaer once threw a pot away because it was so burnt. Mary has her work cut out turning the three novices into capable cooks able to serve up a fantastic feast.
The dishes chosen by Mary for this spectacular afternoon tea are red pepper, cheese and chive tartlets, mini scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream and a four-tier clementine cake. Tom heads to the Women’s Institute to make jam fit for the scones, while Roman tries his first ever cup of tea as he tries to find a brew worthy of the party. Then it’s time to step things up as they head to Langley Hall near Cardiff to cook their fantastic feast and give Soraya the surprise of a lifetime.
Mary Berry’s Fantastic Feasts episode 1
Dame Mary Rosa Alleyne Hunnings, known professionally as Mary Berry, is an English food writer, chef, baker and television presenter. After being encouraged in domestic science classes at school, she studied catering and shipping management at college. She then moved to France at the age of 22 to study at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, before working in a number of cooking-related jobs.
Berry’s first job was at the Bath Electricity Board showroom and then conducting home visits to show new customers how to use their electric ovens. She would typically demonstrate the ovens by making a Victoria sponge, a technique she would later repeat when in television studios to test out an oven she had not used before. Her catchment area for demonstrations was limited to the greater Bath area, which she drove around in a Ford Popular supplied as a company car.
Her ambition was to move out of the family home to London, which her parents would not allow until she was 21. At the age of 22, she applied to work at the Dutch Dairy Bureau, while taking City & Guilds courses in the evenings. She then persuaded her manager to pay for her to undertake the professional qualification from the French Le Cordon Bleu school.
She left the Dutch Dairy Bureau to become a recipe tester for PR firm Benson’s, where she began to write her first book. She has since cooked for a range of food-related bodies, including the Egg Council and the Flour Advisory Board. In 1966 she became food editor of Housewife magazine. She was food editor of Ideal Home magazine from 1970 to 1973.
Her first cookbook, The Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook, was published in 1970. She launched her own product range in 1994 with her daughter Annabel. The salad dressings and sauces were originally only sold at Mary’s AGA cooking school, but have since been sold in Britain, Germany and Ireland with retailers such as Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Tesco. She has also appeared on a BBC Two series called The Great British Food Revival, and her solo show, Mary Berry Cooks, began airing on 3 March 2014.