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Nigel Slater (born in Wolverhamptonmarker, Englandmarker, 1958) is a British food writer, journalist and broadcaster. He has written a column for The Observer Magazine for over a decade and is the principal writer for the Observer Food Monthly supplement. Prior to this, Slater was food writer for Marie Claire for five years. He also serves as art director for his books.

Kitchen

Although best known for uncomplicated, comfort food recipes presented in early bestselling books such as The 30-Minute Cook and Real Cooking, as well as his engaging, memoir-like columns for The Observer, Slater became known to a wider audience with the publication of Toast: The Story of A Boy's Hunger, a moving and award-winning autobiography focused on his love of food, his childhood, his family relationships (his mother died of asthma when he was nine), and his burgeoning sexuality. Slater has called it "the most intimate memoir that any food person has ever written". Toast was published in Britain in October 2004 and became a bestseller after it was featured on the Richard and Judy Book Club.

"I think the really interesting bits of my story was growing up with this terribly dominating dad and a mum who I loved to bits but obviously I lost very early on; and then having to fight with the woman who replaced her.... I kind of think that in a way that that was partly what attracted me to working in the food service industry, was that I finally had a family." As he told The Observer, "The last bit of the book is very foody. But that is how it was. Towards the end I finally get rid of these two people in my life I did not like [his father and stepmother, who had been the family's cleaning lady]—and to be honest I was really very jubilant—and thereafter all I wanted to do was cook."

In 1998 Slater hosted the Channel 4 series Nigel Slater's Real Food Show. He returned to TV in 2006 hosting the chat/food show A Taste of My Life for BBC One and BBC two. In 2009 he presented the six part series Simple Suppers on BBC One.

His book, Eating for England: The Delights & Eccentricities of the British at Table (Fourth Estate), is devoted to English food and cookery. It was published in October 2007 and was described in The Times as "the sort of ragbag of choice culinary morsels that would pass the time nicely on a train journey".

His latest book Tender is the story of his vegetable garden, how it came to be and what grows in it. The book is to published in two volumes - the first on vegetables was released late in 2009, the second on fruit will be released in 2010. Tender is described as a memoir, a study of fifty of our favourite vegetables, fruits and nuts and a collection of over five hundred recipes.

He has been a guest "castaway" on the BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.

Private life

Slater has two elder brothers, Adrian and John. John was the child of a neighbour, and was adopted by Slater's parents before the writer was born.

He lives in the Highburymarker area of North Londonmarker, where he maintains a kitchen garden which often features in his column.

Although Slater has never written about or otherwise discussed his adult personal life, there is considerable speculation as to his sexual orientation: the New York Times reviewer of Toast concluded from Slater's frankness about his adolescent sexual experiences, and from his differences with his father, that "it becomes clear that [he] is gay", and the gay news site AfterElton.com ran an interview with Slater in which the headline erroneously described him as "openly gay" .

Quotes

  • "Food is, for me, for everybody, a very sexual thing and I think I realised that quite early on. I still cannot exaggerate how just putting a meal in front of somebody is really more of a buzz for me than anything. And I mean anything. Maybe that goes back to trying to please my dad, I don't know. It's like parenting in a way I suppose."


  • "Food has been my career, my hobby, and, it must be said, my escape."


  • "I understood that if ever one wanted to live with someone you cooked for them and they came running. But then it is my idea of hell these days, living with someone. The idea of sharing your life with someone is just utterly ghastly. I know why people do it, but it's never a good idea."


  • "Eating, and that feel of food in the mouth, is all part of comfort and affection and warmth, and I think that a lot of the reason that I turned to food was because I was actually quite a lonely child."


  • "Good kitchens are not about size; they are about ergonomics and light."


  • "It is the deep, salty stickiness of food that intrigues me more than any other quality."


  • "Well let's face it, who on earth besides antique dealers and gay couples actually still give dinner parties?"


  • "Almost anything is edible with a dab of French mustard on it."


  • "I have never eaten a boiled egg, but I have had a soldier or two." ("Soldiers" can refer to slices of toast cut into long thin strips for dipping into a boiled egg.)


Publications

Cookbooks

  • The Marie Claire Cookbook, Hamlyn, (ISBN 0-7064-2573-1, 1992)
  • Real Fast Food, Michael Joseph Ltd, (ISBN 0-7181-3577-6, 1992) or Penguin Books Ltd, (ISBN 0-14-046949-4, 1993)
  • Real Fast Puddings, Michael Joseph Ltd, (ISBN 0-7181-3577-6, 1992) or Penguin Books Ltd, (ISBN 0-14-023283-4, 1994)
  • The 30-Minute Cook, Michael Joseph Ltd (ISBN 0-7181-3752-3, 1994)
  • Real Cooking, Michael Joseph Ltd, (ISBN 0-7181-4090-7, 1997) or Penguin Books Ltd (ISBN 0-14-025277-0, 1999)
  • Real Food, Fourth Estate Ltd, (ISBN 1-85702-971-2, 1998) or (ISBN 1-84115-144-0, 2000)
  • Appetite, Random House of Canada Ltd, (ISBN 0-679-31212-9, 2000) or Fourth Estate Ltd (ISBN 1-84115-470-9, 2000)
  • Thirst, Fourth Estate Ltd, (ISBN 1-84115-768-6, 2002)
  • The Kitchen Diaries, Fourth Estate Ltd, (ISBN 0-00-719948-1, 2005) or Gotham Books, published by Penguin (USA) Inc., (ISBN 1-592-40234-8), October 2006
  • Tender, Volume One, Fourth Estate Ltd, (ISBN13 978-0-00-724849-0) 2009

Autobiography

  • Toast: The Story of a Boy's Hunger, Fourth Estate Ltd, (ISBN 1-84115-289-7, 2003) or HarperPerennial (ISBN 0-7011-7287-8, 2004)
  • Eating For England, Fourth Estate Ltd, (ISBN 0-00-719946-5, October 2007)


Awards

  • 1995 Glenfiddich Cookery Writer of the Year Award
  • 1995 Glenfiddich Trophy
  • 1995 Glendfiddich Award for Best Visual Work for The Observer
  • 1996 Media Personality of the Year Award (Good Food Awards)
  • 1999 Glenfiddich Award for Best Visual Work for Real Food
  • 1999 Best Newspaper Cookery Journalist Award
  • 2000 André Simon Award for Cookbook of the Year for Appetite
  • 2004 André Simon Award for Toast
  • 2004 Glenfiddich Food Book of the Year forToast
  • 2004 British Biography of the Year Award for Toast
  • 2004 Observer Food Monthly Book of the Year Award for Toast
  • 2004 WH Smith People's Choice Award for "Toast"
  • 2006 British Book Award for The Kitchen Diaries
  • 2007 Specialist Writer of the Year, PPA Awards
  • 2009 Honorary M.Litt. from the University of Wolverhampton
  • 2009 BBC Food Personality of the Year


References

  1. AfterElton.com - Interview with Nigel Slater (page 2)
  2. Excerpt from Toast
  3. Richard & Judy
  4. AfterElton.com - Interview with Nigel Slater
  5. Nigel Slater: the interview | Food and drink | Life and Health
  6. BBC - Food - TV and radio
  7. EATING FOR ENGLAND: The Delights & Eccentricities of the British at Table by Nigel Slater review - Times Online TASTE: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking by Kate Colquho...
  8. Appearance on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs
  9. Barnes & Noble.com - Books: Toast, by Nigel Slater, Hardcover
  10. The New York Times > Books > Sunday Book Review > 'Toast': Boy Meets Grill
  11. The Real Cook - Writers and critics - Celebrities and articles - Food - Waitrose.com
  12. Review: The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater | By genre | guardian.co.uk Books
  13. In this month's OFM | Food monthly | The Observer
  14. The Kitchen Diaries, Fourth Estate Ltd, (ISBN 0-00-719948-1, 2005) or Gotham Books, published by Penguin (USA) Inc., (ISBN 1-592-40234-8), October 2006
  15. Eating For England, Fourth Estate Ltd, (ISBN 0-00-719946-5, October 2007)
  16. Microsite for The Kitchen Diaries at Harper Collins
  17. Review of The Kitchen Diaries by William Leith for The Guardian, 2005
  18. Review of Toast by Lynne Truss, for The Times, 2003
  19. Review of Toast by Matthew Fort for The Observer, 2003
  20. Review of Eating for England, in The Times, 2007
  21. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/ffa/2009/finalists/


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