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Delia Smith CBE (born 18 June 1941) is an Englishmarker cook and television presenter, known for her interest in teaching basic cookery skills. She is the UK's best-selling cookery author, with more than 18 million copies sold.

Smith is also famous for her role as joint majority shareholder at Norwich City F.C.. Her partner in the shareholding is her husband, Michael Wynn-Jones. Her role at the club has attracted varying media attention, from positive when she "saved" the club from bankruptcy, to negative, when making a controversial on-pitch announcement in 2005.

Already an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Smith was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours, "in recognition of ... [her] contribution to television cookery and recipe writing".

Chef, author and TV personality

Born to a Welsh mother in Wokingmarker, Surreymarker, Smith left school at 16 without a single O-level. Her first job was as a hairdresser, and she also worked as a shop assistant and in a travel agency before starting her career in cookery.When Delia was 16, her boyfriend often complimented her, saying how good her food was. This was the nudge forward that made Delia take that step into cookery. At 21, she started work in a tiny restaurant in Paddingtonmarker called The Singing Chef. She started as a washer-upper, then moved on to waitressing, and then was allowed to help with the cooking. She started reading English cookery books in the Reading Roommarker at the British Museummarker, trying out the recipes on a Harley Streetmarker family with whom she was living at the time.

In 1969 Smith was taken on as the cookery writer for the Daily Mirror's new magazine. Their Deputy Editor was Michael Wynn-Jones, whom she later married. Her first piece featured kipper pâté, beef in beer, and cheesecake. In 1972 she started a column in the Evening Standard which she was to write for 12 years. Later she wrote a column for the Radio Times until 1986.Smith became famous by hosting a cookery television show Family Fare which ran between 1973-1975. Her first television appearances came in the early 1970s, as resident cook on BBC East's regional magazine programme Look East, shown on BBC One across East Angliamarker.

Smith approached BBC Further Education with an idea for their first televised cookery course. Her aim was to teach people how to cook: to take them back to basics and cover all the classic techniques. Accompanying books were needed to explain not only how, but why, things happen. This led to her three Cookery Course books.

Her television series, Delia's How to Cook (1998), reportedly led to a 10% rise in egg sales in Britainmarker, 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. Items to have benefitted from the Delia Effect include the Kenwood mini-chopper, Martelli pasta and Aunt Bessie's mashed potato.

Smith baked the cake depicted on the cover of the Rolling Stones album Let It Bleed.

In 2005, Smith announced that she was supporting the Labour Party in the forthcoming election.

In 2009, Smith announced that in order to help Norwich City's finances, she has "been working extremely hard on another book and TV series." It is to be a retrospective of her 40 year career, "looking at how things have changed".


Smith is also known for her spiritual books. She has had a varied church background. Having been baptised in the Church of England, she attended a Methodist Sunday School, a Congregationalist Brownie group and later a Church of England youth group. At the age of 22 she converted to the Roman Catholic Church. Her first two short religious books, A Feast for Lent (1983) and A Feast for Advent (1983), are readings and reflections for these seasons. In 1988 Delia took on the much larger challenge of writing a full-length book on prayer - A Journey into God.


Smith has developed other business interests outside of her culinary ventures, notably a majority shareholding in the Coca-Cola League One team Norwich City Football Club, with her Welsh-born husband, Michael Wynn-Jones with whom she lives near Stowmarketmarker in Suffolk. Both Smith and Wynn-Jones were season ticket holders at Norwich and were invited to invest in the club, which had fallen on hard times.

The editor of an Ipswich Town fanzine, Those Were the Days, alleges that Smith supported that team - local rivals to Norwich City - during the build-up to their 1978 FA Cup Final win. Smith explained, however, that she merely wore a blue and white scarf on the day of the Final for her appearance on BBC Television's Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, at the request of the show's producers.

On 28 February 2005, Smith attracted attention during the half-time break of a home match against Manchester City. At the time Norwich were fighting an ultimately unsuccessful battle against relegation from the Premier League, and in order to rally the troops, Smith, whilst the worse from drink, grabbed the microphone from the club announcer and said: "A message for the best football supporters in the world: we need a 12th man here. Where are you? Where are you? Let's be having you! Come on!" Norwich subsequently lost the match 3-2.

In July 2008, Smith rejected an offer from Norfolk-born billionaire Peter Cullum, who wished to invest £20 million in the club, but wished Smith and the other shareholders to relinquish their holdings.


From 1993 to 1998 Smith worked as a behind-the-scenes consultant for Sainsbury'smarker. In May 1993 she and her husband launched New Crane Publishing, which produces the Sainsbury's Magazine and produced Smith's most recent books for BBC Worldwide. Smith was Consultant Director and contributed her own recipes. Although Delia and Michael sold New Crane Publishing in 2005, Smith continues to be a Consultant for Seven Publishing who now publish the magazine.

In March 2001 Smith launched her website, Delia Online. She uses the site to communicate directly with her fans, and offers a growing archive of her recipes. There is also a lively forum where contributors share recipes, offer advice about cookery skills and where to buy products. The website also contains information about Smith's latest venture - the very successful "How to Cheat at Cooking", such as where to buy "cheat" products, and a selection of some of the recipes from the book.


In 1996, Smith was awarded an honorary degree by Nottingham Universitymarker, a Fellowship from St Mary’s University College (a college of the University of Surreymarker) and a Fellowship from the Royal Television Society. In 1999 she received an Honorary degree from the University of East Angliamarker and in 2000, a Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores Universitymarker.


Cookery books

  • How to Cheat at Cooking (1971)
  • Recipes from Country Inns and Restaurants (1973)
  • The Evening Standard Cookbook (1974)
  • Frugal Food (1976) (Re-issued in October 2008)
  • Cakes, Bakes & Steaks (1977)
  • Delia Smith's Book of Cakes (1977)
  • Delia Smith's Cookery Course (3 volumes: 1978, 1979 & 1980)
  • One is Fun (1986)
  • Complete Illustrated Cookery Course (1989) (ISBN 0-563-21454-6)
  • Delia Smith's Christmas (1990)
  • Delia Smith's Summer Collection (1993)
  • Delia Smith's Winter Collection (1995) (winner of the 1996 British Book of the Year award).
  • Delia's How to Cook—Book 1 (1998) (based on the television series)
  • Delia's How to Cook—Book 2 (1999)
  • Delia's How to Cook—Book 3 (2001)
  • The Delia Collection (2003) (several themed volumes)
  • Delia's Kitchen Garden: A Beginners' Guide to Growing and Cooking Fruit and Vegetables (2004)
  • The Delia Collection - Puddings (2006)
  • Delia's Kitchen Garden (February 2007) (BBC Books - ISBN 9780563493730)
  • How to Cheat at Cooking (February 2008) (Ebury Press - ISBN 9780091922290)
  • Delia's Happy Christmas (October 2009)

Religious works

  • A Feast for Advent (1983)
  • A Feast for Lent (1983)
  • A Journey into Prayer (1986)
  • A Journey into God (1988)

Television series guide

  • Family Fare
  • Series 1: 8 editions from 12 September 1973 - 7 November 1973
  • Series 2: 12 editions from 11 July 1974 - 2 October 1974
  • Series 3: 13editions from 18 April 1975 - 11 July 1975

  • Delia Smith's Cookery Course 1: 10 editions from 3 November 1978 - 26 January 1979
  • Delia Smith's Cookery Course 2: 10 editions from 11 January 1980 - 14 March 1980
  • Delia Smith's Cookery Course 3: 10 editions from 6 April 1981 - 18 June 1981

  • Delia Smith's One is Fun: 6 editions from 28 June 1985 - 9 August 1985

  • Delia Smith's Christmas: 6 editions from 15 November 1990 - 20 December 1990

  • Delia Smith's Summer Collection: 10 editions from 4 May 1993 - 6 July 1993

  • Delia Smith's Winter Collection: 12 editions from 11 October 1995 - 7 February 1996

  • Delia's Red Nose Collection: 5 editions from 9 February 1997 - 9 March 1997

  • Delia's How to Cook 1: 10 editions from 13 October 1998 - 15 December 1998
  • Delia's How to Cook 2: 10 editions from 10 January 2000 - 13 March 2000
  • Delia's How to Cook 3: 8 editions from 8 January 2002 - 26 February 2002

  • Delia's Chocolate C'Hunks: 5 editions from 9 February 2001 - 9 March 2001

  • Delia: 6 editions from 10 March 2008 - 14 April 2008



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