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Cooking has become ‘poncy theatre on a plate’, says TV’s Delia

The veteran TV presenter was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to cookery.

Delia Smith has said she thinks cooking has become “very poncy, very chefy”, as she also revealed she does not like or enjoy the current trend for “theatre on a plate”.

The veteran TV presenter was speaking after she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to cookery, at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

Pressed on whether there are currently any food fads or cooking techniques which she dislikes, having written many cookbooks throughout her career, she admitted there are.

“Cooking has become very poncy, very chefy – if I get one more plate put in front of me with six dots of sauce on it, I will go mad,” she said.

Delia Smith with the Queen at Buckingham Palace (Yui Mok/PA)

“I can’t do it, I just can’t do it. The joy, years ago, of going to a really special restaurant and having a really special meal, has gone.

“It is very hard to find one that isn’t trying to be theatre on a plate … I don’t like it at all.”

Stressing that the focus of cooking should be on flavoursome ingredients, she said she would rather eat meat once a month but with “all the flavour it should have”, and that food quality is suffering through mass production.

“The mass production takes away the real flavour – now people just want to tear out the breasts of chickens and ducks, they don’t want the rest,” she added.

She said the fact that the UK is now the most overweight country in Europe is “very distressing” fact, and that one of the reasons for the problem is Britain’s addiction to sweet things.

“When you go into a supermarket you see yards and yards of chocolate bars and sweets, and children are going past it,” she said.

“I just don’t think, unless they make some kind of big effort – the Government and the food industry – I just think it is, sugar is a concentrated food.

“If you picked a piece of sugar cane it would take you a fortnight to get through it, then it all gets refined down to a teaspoonful – and I think that is one of the problems, addiction to the sweet.”

A joint majority shareholder at Norwich City Football Club alongside her husband, she said she “doesn’t believe in a total ban” on sugar, adding that “just a balance” needs to be struck.

Saying she was “deeply, deeply honoured” to receive her CH, the 76-year-old said walking up to collect it from the Queen at the investiture ceremony was “nerve-wracking”.

“Over the years I had such a wonderful response from people – in a way their response to what I was trying to do was what spurred me on do it. I think it belongs to them as well,” she said.

Quizzed on whether she will be releasing another cookbook in the coming years, she simply said “No” – but that her recipes are available online at any time.

“There is not the need now to keep (cook) books … I think there are far too many of them actually,” she added.

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