Delia is one of Britain’s most talented and popular chefs. She is admired for teaching basic cookery skills in a no-nonsense style and is the UK’s best-selling cookery author, with more than 21 million copies sold.
Delia left school at 16 with no qualifications and worked as a trainee hairdresser, then a shop assistant and later at a travel agency. At age 21, she spent time washing up in a restaurant, and this experience piqued her interest in cooking. However, she says it was when a boyfriend kept praising his former girlfriend’s talents in the kitchen that she got fed up and started cooking seriously.
Delia studied English cookery books at the British Museum to find inspiration for cooking meals for family and friends, with mixed success. One of her first television experiences was as an assistant on a food advertisement. When someone dropped a pie just before filming began, she volunteered to make the replacement. The rest, as they say, is history.
Her television series, Delia’s How to Cook (1998), reportedly led to a 10% rise in egg sales in Britain, and her use of ingredients (such as frozen mash, tinned minced beef and onions as used in her 2008 TV series), or utensils (such as an omelette pan), could cause sell-outs overnight. This phenomenon – the “Delia Effect” – was most recently seen in 2008 after her new book How to Cheat at Cooking was published. Her fame has meant that her first name has become sufficient to identify her to the public, and the “Delia Effect” has become a commonly used phrase to describe a run on a previously poor-selling product as a result of a high-profile recommendation.
In 2003 Smith announced her retirement from television. However, she returned for an eponymously-titled six-part series airing on the BBC in Spring 2008. The accompanying book, an update of her original best-selling 1971 book How to Cheat at Cooking, was published by Ebury Press in February 2008, immediately becoming a number one best-seller.
Delia Smith has developed other business interests outside of her culinary ventures, notably a majority shareholding in Norwich City Football Club, with her Welsh-born husband, Michael Wynn-Jones with whom she lives near Stowmarket in Suffolk.
Product Endorsements & Advertising
Delia has spent more than 25 years showing the British public how to cook. She is one of the leading modern authorities on good basic cooking and is immensely popular and trusted: supermarkets report ‘the Delia effect’ whenever she recommends a product.
Items to have benefitted from the “Delia Effect” include the Kenwood mini-chopper, Martelli pasta and Aunt Bessie’s mashed potato.
In March 2010, Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal were signed up to appear in a series of 40 commercials on British television for the supermarket chain Waitrose.
A wonderful person with remarkable culinary talents, Delia Smith is one of the finest chefs of her generation. Her profile has led her to being a top choice for celebrity endorsement campaigns.