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Tanya Wasiuta

The Rise of TV Chefs over the Decades


Over the decades, many culinary personalities have taken to the TV screens, and have inspired a nation to try new cuisines, inspire change, but most of all to don that apron and get in the kitchen!

Each TV personality offers something unique, something that captivates audiences that makes them so enjoyable.

So let’s delve back into the archives past and present to find out what made these TV chefs a recipe for success.

Fanny Craddock

Phyllis Nan Sortain Pechey better known as Fanny Craddock, was one of the earliest television celebrity chefs in the UK. She first appeared on British television back in the 1950’s through to the 1970’s spanning over 2 decades following the popularity of her first cookbook in 1949 entitled ‘The Practical Cook.’

What made her a great TV personality and a gain a huge following in the UK, was her goal to inspire the average housewife with an exotic approach to cooking back in the post-war utility years. Famously working in various ball-gowns without the customary cook’s apron, asserting that women should feel cooking was easy and enjoyable, rather than messy and intimidating.

It is fair to say that many feared her straight talking nature and ability to dish out harsh criticism; unfortunately this led to the demise of her TV career in 1976, after she pretended to wretch when a contestant was describing her menu the reality TV show ‘Big Time’.

Delia Smith

An English cook and television presenter, Delia is best known for teaching basic cookery skills in a no-nonsense style, and has taught generations to cook for over four decades, all starting with her first TV show back in 1973 Family Fare, which quickly led her to becoming the face of home cooking on our television screens. She is one of the UK’s best-selling authors, with more than 21 million books sold.

What made Delia so likeable to the public audience was she liked to keep things simple and took it back to the basics, which related to the TV audience.

Delia has had so much influence on the public’s buying and eating habits that the term ‘Delia effect’ was added to the dictionary. The meaning being ‘the way in which food products sell out much more quickly than usual when they are used on television food programmes.’

She has since turned her passion to her much beloved Norwich City FC and claimed her personality through her rant ‘let’s be having you! Where are you!

Ainsley Harriot

18 years as a chef and TV personality, Ainsley has become one of the country’s favourite TV chefs, and is something of a national institution.

The master of fresh, fun, accessible cuisine. Ainsley’s food reflects the needs of real life. It’s diverse and delicious but easy to prepare and speedy to cook.

However his cooking prowess was also replicated by his unique but fun and quirky hosting skills from much loved and hugely popular TV shows like Ready Steady Cook, which has since gone on to produce a number of famous chefs including James Martin and the Italian Stallion Gino D’Acampo.

Heston Blumenthal

Revolutionising the way we cook, Heston captivated his nation of fans and aspiring chefs with his scientific understanding of cooking, which has lead him to create weird and wacky dishes that no other chef would attempt. A pioneer of multi-sensory cooking he is one of the very best chefs in the UK today. One of his signature dishes is his Triple Cooked Chips and has since pioneered the use of sound as part of the dining experience with his Sound of the Sea dish where diners listen to a recording of the seaside, taking us to a whole new dining experience.

Gordon Ramsay

The emergence of Chef Gordon Ramsay brought something new to our TV screens, with his fiery temper and expletives, Ramsey brought about a different from of entertainment to the nation, captivating viewers as it was something never seen from a TV personality! The viewers loved it as did producers rising to TV fame with a number of successful shows including ‘The F Word’.

Jamie Oliver

Starting his successful TV career with ‘The Naked Chef’ it is fair to say that Jamie Oliver is one of the most recognised and respected TV Chef personalities to have graced the TV screens. He has captivated the heart of the nation by bringing to the forefront issues close to his heart and campaigning for change!

It is these issues that have gone onto revolutionise his image and make him one of the most likeable celebrity chefs in the industry. Some of his most recognised campaigns include ‘The School Dinner Campaign’ in which he aimed to revolutionise and introduce healthier eating in UK school, the success led to a US campaign whereby obesity is at all on time high! The work never stops for Jamie Oliver highlighted via is most recent campaign ‘Food Revolution Day’ to educate every child about food and inspire families to cook again!

Without these characters gracing our TV screens, many would not have been inspired to take on cooking and I'm sure that many other TV personalities will continue to forge the same success, inspiring the nation to cook!

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